Monday, August 25, 2014

1st day of 6th grade and a sweet treat for teacher

I can't believe I am a mom of a middle schooler now!  Wasn't it just last week I was in the hospital holding my new baby?  Wow!  Time does fly and it seems to go faster the older I get.  

Today has been the day he has dreaded all summer long.  The new school and getting out of his comfort zone has not been easy for him.  He doesn't do change well at all so this has been big.  I know he will be fine but seeing him be so nervous has made me a wreck!  Of course I have to be the grown up and tell him it's going to be great and to make him believe that.  Meanwhile, I need someone to tell me it's going to be great !

I look forward to seeing him grow this year and to get to try lots of new things and expand his horizons but at the same time I want to keep him home with me forever and know that he is safe and innocent.  Part of being a good parent is letting go and I know that but it's been hard this year.  I try to remember to enjoy every moment with him because it's going so fast but these times are always a good reminder to stop and enjoy life with him.

 My 6th Grader!   

 Each year we have a tradition of drawing a heart on his hand.  It started back in kindergarten and he has requested it each year.  Even this year he asked me to do it which was a surprise.  When I first did it I told him it was for him to look at when he got nervous and he'd remember me.  It worked like a charm and every year he has said "Don't forget my heart".  Makes me melt that he still wants it on his hand.

 He's growing up so fast!

 Ready to head to middle school!

 Little Man!

 • • • 

 Back to School!
 • • •

I was worried he wouldn't want to take teacher treats to school this year since he's getting older so imagine my surprise when he asked me what I was sending in for the teachers on the first day of school.  I would have been busy planning something more elaborate but since it was last minute we ran to the store and grabbed some candy and I made a couple cute tags for the boxes and tied them on with twine.  It ended up being the perfect thing--small enough he can put it in his backpack for all the teachers and not too elaborate that he'd be embarrassed to hand the treat out.

I recently read that middle school and high school teachers are the most forgotten teachers so try not to forget about them! 

 "It's going to be a BUNCHA fun with you as my teacher!"

 "I am BURSTING with excitement to have you as my teacher!"

 I tied the tags to a box of Buncha Crunch and a box of Starburst.  

 Simple and Sweet!

 I love easy and quick ideas like this!  Usually these end up being a bigger hit than when I spend hours making some sort of baked good or craft! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bread Box Makeover with Krylon Spray Paint

My grandmother has always wanted a bread box for the kitchen to store bread and crackers and other goodies.  My mom and I went thrifting when we were vacationing at Ocean Isle Beach this summer and we found this bread box that had a nice little divided drawer and a big storage space for breads.  We both knew we had found a keeper for my grandmother.  She of course was thrilled with the bread box when she saw it but wanted it painted and updated.  That is where I came in...I bought some black Krylon Spray paint (my favorite spray paint!) and went to Hobby Lobby and got an awesome knob that really adds a nice pop to the front of the drawer. 

I didn't get a before photo of the wheat engraving but my mom spent a lot of time taking a nail and etching it out because it wasn't deep at all and wasn't really that noticeable and it happened to be one of my grandma's favorite things about the box.  She got it much more pronounced and adding the paint made it pop out and be more apparent from a distance.

The completed Bread Box is now a center piece of the kitchen and she loves it!

 I really sanded the box well and removed the cover to make painting it easier.  I used Krylon Satin Black spray paint and it worked perfectly for this project and left a beautiful shine but not too shiny.

 As you can see my mom really etched that wheat design to make it deeper and more noticeable and it now really pops!  It was worth the time it took her to do that because it made a bigger impact on the finished product.

After sanding the entire box I was ready to start painting.  It took several coats but they were thin coats.  I used 3 cans of Spray Paint on this box.

 Hobby Lobby has the best knobs and all very reasonably priced!  I headed over there and took the drawer with me to make sure the knob I chose would work perfectly.  This one was a keeper!  I just love that it's already antiqued and has black showing through to match the black bread box.

It is now perfect to store bread, crackers, cookies, etc.  She loves it and that is what counts.  I love doing projects like this that make others happy!

 As you can see the wheat design really pops now and you can see it across the room.
 
 Love it!
 
 Another fun makeover project!

Friday, August 8, 2014

. . . Country Chic Luncheon . . .

Recently, my mom wanted to throw a luncheon for some of her friends and coworkers.  She asked me to help with the set up and the printing of some of the paper items and I'm never one to turn down helping out with a party so I was ready to go with all my ideas!  I get my love for parties and entertaining from my mom and when we team up we have the best of time.  She has taught me that it's always in the details and I am a big believer in that.  It's always the little unexpected touches that make people happy.

 We decided on a color scheme of blue and green with pops of turquoise thrown in.  I had used the Blue Ball Jars for my son's 5th grade graduation lunch so between us we had plenty of blue and green jars for beverages.  I printed some cute little tags and then punched them out with a scallop circle punch and we tied them on with blue, green and turquoise twine.  Then for the added punch of color we used blue and green paper straws.  A nice pop of color and pattern was added by using the straws.

We used this awesome 2 tiered tray from Target's garden department which is brilliant for parties!  It isn't food safe so it's the perfect spot to place your plates, napkins, silverware etc.  I have one of these trays and use it all the time.  

The plates came from Target as well and worked perfectly with our color scheme.  The tablecloth belonged to my great great grandmother and with the cross stitch pattern it added a nice bit of vintage to the party and of course it matched perfectly since it's blue and white.  The serving dishes were all white, blue or green to match the colors of the luncheon along with the serving utensils being silver, green or blue.  I printed a cute sign to place on top of the tiered tray.  Then we created this adorable little unexpected cluster arrangement on the tray out of 3 straws, some ribbon, tulle and a paper doily. **Stay tuned in the next few days to see how we made this.

 Add some fresh flowers for an added pop of color and to continue the country chic theme!

 Pretty as can be!

 Brownies, strawberries and a pop of more color with some fresh flowers from her outdoor flower arrangements.  Using the Ball jars just continues that country chic theme.

 Love the enamel bowls and cup for the picks!  Just another added pop of color and vintage feel with adding the enamelware.

  She decided her menu would be Homemade Chicken Salad on Croissants, 3 Bean Salad, Dilly Cucumber Salad, Chips, Tomato Pie, Brownies, Fresh Fruit, Iced Tea and Lemonade.  The perfect light lunch that is refreshing on a summer day.

Everyone eat up and enjoy!

 I love these little mini jars that we picked up at a local consignment shop!  They couldn't look prettier with flowers added to them.  

Details!  Details!  Details!  
We added a few small pieces of twine at the end of each serving utensil and then of course this adorable cluster of ribbon and straws on the tiered tray adds a nice unexpected pop of color and texture!

My son and my mom are busy getting ready!  Can you believe we even got my son to help out.  He could be a party planner in the making.  


A fun time had by all!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Simple Painted Wine Bottle Framed Centerpiece

I was cleaning the house this past weekend and really needed an updated centerpiece for the dining room table.  I can't stand to have the table sitting empty and I was bored with my previous centerpiece so I rooted around in the garage where I keep all my extra decorating items and found the painted wine bottles I use for a variety of things and these great frames I had from Micheal's that were just 5 bucks. A light bulb went off and I thought I'd make a framed centerpiece with the wine bottles.  So out came the spray paint and ran out to the yard to put a quick coat of ivory paint on the frame and then sanded some of the paint off to give it an older look.

So simple and quick to do!
 I used Krylon Almond in satin finish for the frame and then sanded it down after it was dry.  I also gathered up a few twigs that were in my yard from a recent storm and lightly coated them with a little white spray paint so they weren't just a drab gray color.  I wanted to use them for filler and this coat of paint helped brighten them up a little bit.

 I placed the frame on the table and then centered the bottles and added the painted twigs and was done.  Can't get easier than that!

 Who knew?  A little paint on the twigs snazzed them right up.

 These frames were such a bargain at 5 dollars and are super easy to paint any color.  Because the base color was black it was perfect for sanding some of the color off to give it an old feeling.

 I used a sanding block to sand off some of the paint on the details of the frame and some of the edges.  I love doing this to painted items to make them look a little worn.
Perfect for the dining room table!

Friday, July 25, 2014

. . . Easy Homemade Blackberry Cobbler . . .

My son and I have been very busy picking wild blackberries that grow just down the street from our house.  Every morning we go out for a walk and take our berry pot with us and pick the newly ripened blackberries.  I have enjoyed him getting excited about what we can make with them and seeing how fun it is to take something we picked and turn it into something delicious!  

Our picking adventures have slowed down because we saw a snake in one of the blackberry bushes and ever since he's been very apprehensive to get his little hands in the bushes to pull out the berries so we have just been picking the berries that are easily reached so no one has another snake encounter.  I also got a terrible case of poison ivy from picking the berries so I have learned to not be quite so aggressive. We have been covered in splinters from the thorns too so again we are learning to not be quite so crazy with how deep we go into the bushes.  My husband keeps laughing and asking if all these things make it worth picking the berries and each time my answer is yes!  You can always go into the store and buy berries but teaching your child how to pick them and then how to make something from them is just priceless and it will be a memory he has forever I hope.  

This recipe I'm sharing came from Cooks.com and had fantastic reviews and now I have to agree that it is beyond fabulous.  Even better, it was super easy and really was a fun recipe to make with Marcus because it was simple enough he could do it all while I oversaw him.  It's so much fun getting your kids involved in the kitchen so even if you aren't using fresh berries you picked grab a kiddo and let them help out with this recipe.  They will love it!
 You Will Need:
1/2 c. butter
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 c. milk
16 oz. fresh blackberries or you can use thawed frozen blackberries
Melt butter in a 2 quart casserole. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and milk in a small mixing bowl, mix well.  This will be a thick and sticky batter but that is what you want.Pour mixture over melted butter, do not stir. Spoon blackberries over batter; do not stir.
Bake at 350°F. for 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with a big 'ol scoop of vanilla ice cream on it and you will be in heaven!
 I told my son this was a magic recipe because it is one of those that you do in layers and then while it bakes the doughy filling rises to the top.  

 Make sure when you are making this recipe that you don't stir up the ingredients when you layer them into your baking dish.  

 Even though the crust didn't cover the entire top of the cobbler there is still quite a bit of it mixed through it.  I served ours with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream but honestly I could eat it just all by itself.  It's the perfect amount of sweetness without being too rich.

 Yummy goodness!


 Perfection!



I hope you enjoy this simple and sweet recipe!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

. . . Creamy Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches . . .

I honestly have no idea when or where I picked up this recipe but it's always a hit in our house.  It's kind of a dump to your liking recipe which is my favorite kind!  I made these for the first time a few years ago and my son ate the leftovers until every last bit was gone and then asked me to make them again so he could keep eating them.  He doesn't like leftovers so that is saying something! 

The cream cheese is such a great addition to these to make them extra creamy sandwiches.  The best part of this recipe is how quickly you can throw this together. 

You will need:

2 Cups Beef Broth
1 pkg Lipton Onion soup mix
1 lb.Deli Roast Beef, thinly sliced
1 Green Pepper, sliced thin
1 Onion, sliced thin--you can use a white or yellow onion
4 ounces Cream Cheese
Provolone Cheese slices (I used about 2 slices per sandwich)
Hoagie rolls


Bring beef broth and onion soup mix to a boil in a large skillet. Add roast beef, reduce heat, and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until beef is cooked just the way you like it. In another large skillet saute onion and green peppers until nicely browned.

When beef is done simmering, drain most the juice off the meat mixture.  Add 4 ounces of cream cheese and let it melt while mixing it into the meat.

Once the cream cheese in the pan is all melted, pile beef mixture and onions and peppers onto each hoagie roll then top with provolone cheese and place sandwiches, open-faced on a large baking sheet.

Broil on high for about a minute or so until cheese becomes bubbly and bread becomes slightly toasty. Remove from oven and serve immediately.  I cut ours in half and then did some without any onions and peppers and they were great either way.  Since making this recipe I've added in mushrooms and boy is that good too!

Gather your ingredients to prepare your Cheesesteak sandwiches

Combine the beef broth and onion soup in a skillet over medium to high heat until it boils

Once beef broth and onion soup come to a boil add your roast beef.  Brown it until you get it to the perfect color for you.  We like ours a little browner so I cooked mine a bit longer than you'd actually have to do it.

In a separate skillet saute your onions and green peppers until they are nicely browned.  I also add mushrooms a lot of time and it adds a nice touch to the recipe.



Drain most the liquid off your meat and add in your 4 ounces of cream cheese.

Let the cream cheese melt into the meat mixture.  You will want to stir it while it's melting to get it evenly distributed.  Once it's all melted you are ready to serve these up on hoagie rolls.


I put meat and the veggies on a half a hoagie roll and add a slice of cheese and leave the buns open faced and stick them under the broiler for a minute or two until everything is melted and browned.  


Serve them up and ENJOY!



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