Monday, August 29, 2011


Wow!  The kids are off to their first day of school!  Well, I can tell you what I will be doing with a tiny bit of my extra free time…I will be browsing around Pinterest.  It is this new site my good friend Sunny told me about and she warned me.  She said, “It is addicting”.  I didn’t believe her…but then I got hooked…and then I found the app for my iphone…I am totally addicted!
It is a wonderful site to organize all the lovely things we find on the internet.  I mostly love the creativity of it: finding crafts to make, new recipes, and kids art projects!  The best part is that it is totally for the visual learner, that’s me!  You save any ideas you find on “boards” and then you have a pic of each thing you save, no more searching when you forgot the name of the recipe!
So try it out if you like, it is a great way to pick areas to search in and not have to go through endless blog searches!

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Back to School Teacher Gifts

The summer flew by so fast and now it is time to head back to school!  I found some great ideas for teacher gifts and started with an adorable idea for an insulated cup (they are all the rage) that can be found for $5 at Wal-Mart.  I then filled it with some lemonade drink packets and a small bag of cookies.  The tag says, “Thank you for quenching my thirst for knowledge”.  The kids had “Meet the Teacher” day on Friday morning, so they met their teacher and then handed them each a cup.  They were a huge hit!

I also like to do practical gifts.  Due to the budget crisis our teachers have NO money to spend on basic classroom supplies and have to reach into their own pockets for stuff like Kleenex, copy paper, and paper towels.  On the first day of school each one of my kids will go with boxes of Kleenex for their teachers.  My son is also giving his teacher note cards for speeches they will be working on.  It is always nice to send extra school supplies; some kids never bring them or can’t afford them.

My daughter’s teacher is teaching an apple unit for the first week of school!  She is very excited and couldn’t wait to pick out her apple at the grocery store.  I also went ahead and picked out five different apples; being sure to leave the stickers on them to let the teacher know which ones they were.  I then painted her initial on a canvas re-usable lunch bag, put the apples in, and tied it with a cute ribbon.  Now she has extras for the kids that don’t bring them to school!

Happy Back to School!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Things and a Recipe

I have 2 new favorite things!  The first one is something I am sure most of you have, but for some reason I have been in the culinary dark ages and have never had one until recently.  My parents gave me a food processor for my birthday!  I had no idea how much I would use it.  I have used it to make salsa, fine crumble sausages for pizza, and make zucchini bread.  The shredding attachment is my favorite and I will never shred the old fashioned way again!
My other favorite thing is a new apron!  I don’t usually use aprons to cook, being an artist I wear them to protect my clothes while painting or teaching art.  I ruined way too many clothes in college and found out that a cheery apron with some style makes me happy while I work.  I found this new one in the clearance section at Marshall’s!  Perfect to use cooking and starting the new school year teaching art in my kid’s classes!
Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cup grated unpeeled zucchini
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9 “loaf pans with cooking oil. In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy.  Beat in sugar, oil and vanilla until thick and lemon-colored. Stir in zucchini. Sift dry ingredients and stir into the batter. Fold in the nuts. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 40 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Cool 10 minutes before turning out on to racks. These freeze well.

Beautiful Moth

I was able to capture one last picture of the Hummingbird Moth with it's wings fully extended before it departed!  God has some truly amazing creatures!

Friday, August 12, 2011


They hatched!  I am so overly excited that our caterpillars have turned into butterflies and moths!  It has been the most amazing thing to watch as the caterpillars eat, poop (the kids favorite part), and then cocoon.
I wasn’t really sure how this would all turn out.  I started with some bugs and dirt from my garden, found out the sand is not to their liking, and just kept feeding them and giving them a sprinkling of water…hoping for the best!  I think I really got into it more than the kids, although they have liked seeing the changes in the bugs.
Our first learning experience was that the horned tomato worms eat A LOT!  Then we learned that the little green caterpillars are not baby horned worms, they are something else that turns into a beautiful little yellow butterfly.  Their metamorphosis only took about 2 weeks from start to finish.  The horned worms took about a month to turn into a butterfly, from the time they buried themselves under the dirt to cocoon until their cocoon actually moved up above the dirt and they hatched.  Through that, we learned that there are bugs that cocoon underground!
The first horned worm just hatched today and it turns into a beautiful sphinx moth or a hummingbird moth.  They are named that because they are huge, roughly the size of a hummingbird! Their wings start out small and expand as they dry out, as you can see in the pics below.
This was a wonderful science lesson for the kids that took a month in the making, an old aquarium, and the rest was free!