Blogging since 2009, I'm a 1950s housewife to the bone and I love to share what I've learned with others. I'm a lifelong foodie, raised with Sunday dinners at my grandmother's and daily scratch cooking in my childhood kitchen. I'm a nerdy homeschooling mama of 3, and a wife of 17 years.

I drink tea when I knit and coffee when I do everything else.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day!
Day 1 - Skirt Steak w/ Chimichurri
Day 2 - Top Sirloin w/ Homemade Rub
Day 3 -
Rib Eye w/ Herbed Butter
Day 4 - Rosemary Chicken
Day 5 - Top Sirloin Gyros
Day 6 - Kansas City Style Pork Chops
Day 7 - Steak and Mushroom Kebabs
Day 8 - Dad's Hamurgers, 2.0
Day 9 - Top Sirloin w/ Mushrooms
Day 10 - Kid's Lunch
Day 11 - Chicken Souvlaki
Day 12 - S'mores Cones
Day 13 - Short Ribs

Kitchen & Sewing Skills!
Intro - Syllabus
Lesson 1 - Running & Whipstitch
Lesson 2 - Cookies

First Day Teacher Gifts

Crafty, Kids

Today is the first day of school across the LAUSD – for the homeschoolers as well! In our case, we check in with one elementary school teacher and one middle school teacher so we have the same teachers as last year! Fun! I pulled together a couple of sweet ideas I had pinned a while ago to usher in the new school year right.

A lot of homeschoolers don’t like working with their school boards, and I’m not really sure why. I love having teachers to go to with questions about the kid’s work and also being able to work closely with them in an independent study program is wonderful because we can tailor projects and activities to fit them while at the same time working in a school situation that comes with report cards and transcripts!

One of our daughters, Wee One #2 has been working hard over the last year to fast track through second and third grade. She has just a couple of months left in 3rd grade and then she’ll be able to start on 4th. Thankfully, we have the same teacher until 5th grad to help us get through the process! She’s a really sweet person and a great teacher!

She drinks coffee and we have a similar sense of humor so I thought she’d both find this gift funny and useful. It a 16oz Starbucks mug filled with Starbucks instant French Roast coffee packets. The little note is a reproduction I’ve seen all over Pinterest – a little something to get you back to the grind. That’s delicious cheese, amirite?!

The VIA packets are shorter than the cup and didn’t look very pretty at first so I turned a paper Starbucks espresso cup upside down in it and put the packets on top of that so they stuck out more. I have yet to knit with this yarn, but I used a little Biggo yarn in Dogwood Heather from Knit Picks to attach the note (which is just cut out and backed onto brown card stock).

First Day Teacher Gifts

Our oldest’s teacher has been amazing in helping us with the transition to homeschooling a middle schooler, which is an entirely different beast than homeschoooling an elementary aged child! He has the same passion for art that our son has so they hit it off right away. So much in fact, that he’s comfortable calling him if he has questions about an assignment or if he just wants to clarify something. Such a great benefit to independent study!

I hope he likes this little something, I know he likes plants and since he’s working with older kids whose attention can be even harder to hold than small children, hopefully his note will speak to him. :) Teachers plant seeds of knowledge that will grow forever. I went with a cactus since it’s pretty hard to kill them and it went with the whole ‘forever’ theme!

To decorate the pot the cactus came in, I glued pages from the world’s most pathetic dictionary* (the word teach isn’t even in it) to the sides and attached his card stock-backed note with some backyard rope.

First Day Teacher Gifts

I mention that it was a terrible dictionary because the idea of ripping pages from a dictionary (or any book really) totally horrifies me. It had no words between tea and team, for example. It also had a ‘computer terminology’ page at the very back with terms like ‘USB’ and ‘internet’. My husband insisted I laminate it so he could take it to work with him because he is a hilariously ironic dude when he wants to be.

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Valentine’s Day 2012

Crafty, Domestic, Kids

It’s been a super busy, super fun Valentine’s Day around here today! Here’s the parade of the love fest we sent to school!

First up, for the teachers, we made the same caramel corn as for Miss America but I halved it and made the other half purple. I packaged them up in baggies, and used these super cute tags from Our Best Bites – here’s the PDF for them. They say ‘Just popping through with a Valentine for you’. I used red and white baker’s twine that I just ordered from Keeley Behling to wrap them all up. There’s just something about baker’s twine that makes me feel like a serious domestic goddess. I also dipped pretzel rods in melted chocolate and rolled them in pink sprinkles, then wrapped those in parchment paper and tied with more baker’s twine. Love!!

valentines day 2012

valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
These adorable little friendship bracelets were for Wee One #2′s class. They are just three strand braids that we made together; green/orange/blue for the boys and pink/light pink/purple for the girls. They’re strung through another sweet printable that says ‘our class would knot be the same without you’. Ha! I know, it’s mega uber cheese, but dudes please, it’s Valentine’s Day, what do you want from me?! The printable for these is from Dandee Designs over here.
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
These are my favorite treat I’ve ever sent to Wee One #1′s class. They are jumbo Rolos (the kind with 10 in the package) wrapped in red construction paper. I secured the construction paper to the wrapper with double sided tape so it couldn’t be seen and I also rolled half a black pipe cleaner in with it! Instant stick of dynamite! Love it! I made the labels in Photoshop with a similar font from the one it was originally pictured with. This idea came from Make It Do. Our oldest will be 12 this summer, so he’s borderline too old for this shit, you know? It’s hard to find ideas that still fit the holiday without being too lame for him to be down. This? Totally worked!
valentines day 2012
Wee One #2 wanted a little something extra for the kids in her class so we made a fairly classic chocolate covered Oreo for each of them and to keep it festive we added red and pink sprinkles! They’re pictured drying with the equally festive chocolate covered pretzel rods included in the teacher’s loot.
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
valentines day 2012
The Oreos were hard to package, because short of bringing a tray of them into the school, how do you wrap an individual chocolate covered Oreo?! My solution was to plunk each one in a pink cupcake liner, wrap with pink tissue paper and secure with — you guess it! BAKER’S TWINE. I need help, is there a support group for this sort of thing?
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It’s Looking Crafty Around Here, but it’s Still Tasty Tuesday

Crafty, Healthy, Kids, Small Town

Even though there is only one recipe in this whole post, I’m calling it a Tasty Tuesday and I’m participating in all my favorite foodie link ups – Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday (@ 33 Shades of Green), Tasty Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday, Tea Party Tuesday, and Hearth ‘n Soul. And since this is a very crafty post, I’m also linking up with Get Your Craft On, Made With Love, Craftastic, Tip Me Tuesday, Tuesday Crafty Confessions, and Totally Tuesday.

Before I even get into what I posted on the site in the last few days or the collection of crazy cute iPhone photos I’m amassing thanks to a ridic app that I can’t stop playing with – I bring you my kitchen. I posted a crooked picture of it when our offer was officially accepted, 90 days before we closed (longest – and somehow also shortest – 90 days ever). So here it is, a much better view of the room I spend the most time in. The other half of the kitchen has the eating area, the cookbook bookshelf and Wee One #2′s play kitchen – and the pantry! That deserves it’s own post. I have never lived in a house with a walk in pantry or one with this many cabinets, so when we set out to buy a house both of those things were on my wish list. What I really love about it, though I know I’ve said it before, is the working triangle of the fridge to sink to stove. I honestly hadn’t even noticed it until my uncle in law was here on moving day (I can’t call him ‘my husband’s uncle’ after being married for 11 years, as I now adore him like my own uncle) and mentioned that it’ll be a great kitchen for cooking and baking because of the triangle! I had no idea it was an actual ‘thing’, I thought it was just something he said till I later read about it.

Anyhoooooo, out the sink window is the ‘main road’ of this wee town, I guess there are actually two main roads in this town and this window shows the corner of them. There is a whole lot of tractor and horse trailer action on this corner. Also, every single house in town (except ours, I’m not lying) has a dog and they all walk it by this window. (Sidebar- yes we are now entertaining the idea of getting a dog and we are trying to settle on a breed, it will likely be a year until we actually welcome one home). On one hand, a curtain would be a good thing so randos can’t peep in, but on the other hand, there are no randos in a town this small and I like waving like an 80 year old Granny at everyone. For reals. The big patio doors are just out of the frame in the second photo, but you can see where they are from the curtain, just beside the stove. Those doors are very high traffic around here, and I can keep mixing while I glance out to do a quick head count and be sure everyone is accounted for. Love!

I will take photos of my pantry this week – I could make an entire post out of all the weird ingredients in there. You never know when you might need actual honeycomb or hazelnuts or oat flour or dehydrated sugar cane or condensed/evaporated/powdered milk! Not to mention of course the stockpile of apple juice – three kids can easily go through a single can a day.

This week so much of the additions around here have been crafty! I’ve been baking up a storm of course, but most of the projects I’ve added to the site were in the crafty section. There was one recipe added though! It’s another recipe on the health(ier) side of things, a burger from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious – with mushrooms and zucchini!

Homemade Plastic Bowls – Am I really writing about a boxed kid’s craft kit? Sorta. I have always been a fan of crafts like these Makit & Bakit type things. The concept of putting plastic in the oven is so alarming and amazing at the same time, I’ve loved it since I made my first record bowl about 15 years ago. These little ‘Makit & Bakit’ crystals were different and I wanted to try them but I couldn’t find them outside of a kit.
Birthday Wishes – My mother has always made a really fun and (often a really big) to do out of everyone’s birthdays. Not just my Dad & my sister, but also my aunts and uncles and close friends have had serious birthdays courtesy of my mother. As is the case with a lot of people who work hard for other people, she hasn’t had many serious birthdays of her own.
Adhesive Bookplates – Finding crafty ideas for teachers can be rough because even after only a few years of teaching, with an average of 20 kids in each class just imagine how many hilariously crafted gifts they already have. Or how many ‘incredibly useful’ mugs they must have! I’m not out to always give the best gift, but I do aim to give each teacher something they’ll actually use.
Crayon Monogram – I am aware that this is one of those teacher gifts that serves no purpose other than being extremely cute but just look at it! Look! I originally found the idea on Tip Junkie, the inspiration post is over here at Keeping Up With the Comptons – it was posted two years ago and I just did it this June. A quick search turns up so many versions of this craft; Two Peans in a Bucket, Well, How Nice, Dollar Store Crafts, Rainy Tuesday Mornings, Creative Mommas and my personal favorite version from Chic & Cheap Nursery.
Fabric Bookmarks – These were part of the collection of things we made as end of school year thank yous to the teachers and staff at the wee ones’ school. These were made for the librarians, who are a retired couple and so sweet with the kids. I have no doubt that between the two of them they have a great deal of bookmarks, but they are so often lost or in need of replacing I figured it was a safe gift. Plus after seeing these ones on How About Orange I had to make some myself!
Deceptively Delicious Burgers, Part 2 – These burgers are the 15th recipe I’ve made from this book. I can’t say these burgers were amazing, because they were not. However, I can say that not one out of all five of us didn’t finish their burger – loaded with mushrooms and zucchini. None of us like zucchini and only one person likes mushrooms. I think that counts as a success, because while no one raved over them, no one complained about them either and we all got a shot of immune system boosting mushrooms, selenium and B2!

I also went and fell in love with the Instagram iPhone app. I fell hard. It’s addicting to have your already super cute phone pictures made extra adorable. See evidence below. There are 16 filters (I think) and the effects range from fading the image slightly to giving it a different ‘mashed potatoey’ feel with a border. My favorite filter is called Nashville, (the first, and last 2 image). I wonder if there’s a 12 step for this sort of addiction??

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