Friday, August 30, 2013

Food Frenzy Friday (Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread)

If you have ever had the 'Chocolate Cinnamon Bread' at Starbucks, you will love this recipe.  You can find it on my Breads board in Pinterest.  When I first read the recipe I thought it was going to be very involved, but it wasn't too bad and besides the outcome is well worth it.
The original recipe (Table for Two) called for unsalted butter.  Since I didn't have that on hand I just used regular butter and I couldn't tell the difference. It also called for a pinch of cloves (which I didn't have) so I left it out.  Finally, the original recipe said to separate it into 2 loaf pans, well let me tell you a story...  The first time I made this bread I did just that and caught my oven on fire because it spilled over while it was baking and my house smelled for the rest of the day!  Yes, I said 'FIRE'.  So this time I used 3 regular loaf pans and 2 mini loaf pans (I didn't fill the pans as full, so they were smaller loaves).  My son was happy about that because he and his roommate scored 2 loaves of bread. 
This bread is so good, it's hard to resist, especially when there is milk involved!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Closet Transformation

As mentioned a few posts back, our niece, Julie's daughter, moved in with us a little over a month ago (see this post)  So, in making room (also see this post), we had to expand our bedroom closet to fit my husband's clothes, which had been in the Guest Bedroom closet. 

 Our home was built in 1951, and for some reason, they didn't need big closets then, nor large openings to access the closet, so in order to make room, we expanded the opening to extend the full width of the closet....

My husband isn't an electrician, but he sure is an electrical genius!

And he's an amazing handyman who installed the new frame around the closet and did all the patchwork!

I, although 6 months pregnant, painted the inside of the closet as well as the frame to make it look nice & clean. Then, my handyman installed our new closet system. We went with ClosetMaid ShelfTrack 6 ft.- 8 ft. Closet Organizer Kit with Shoe Shelf  because we felt it gave the most storage options without breaking the budget.

The 'Move-In' (sorry for the blurry photo) 

The final touch was to be the curtains, which I bought at IKEA for $28 and the curtain rod at Anna's Linen's for $12.

The curtains needed to be hemmed a bit, but I still left them long enough to puddle.
I love the easy-access of my new closet & the best part is that both mine and my husband's clothes fit!

~ Kerri

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Back to School!

Many of you know that I am a teacher, if you didn' do now.  I have taught 2nd grade for 6 years at the same school and in fact, in the same classroom.  I absolutely love this age group.  They still need me, but they are independent as well.  I thought it would be a great idea to share with all of you how teachers prepare for the upcoming year.  
If any of you are teachers, you will know that overwhelming feeling you get when you walk into your classroom for the first time after summer break.  I was blessed by my wonderful husband because he helped me set up my classroom (which he has done for the past couple of years).  Not only did he help set up my room, he made an awesome 'daily schedule' sign, which I will be posting next week. 

Here is my classrooms transformation...
This is what I am talking about (above pictures)...mounds of books and desks piled to one side of the room or in the middle of the room.

This year I decided to change the border in my classroom (I had the other up for 3 years...can you say LAZY).  I found this Dr. Seuss border in the Really Good Stuff teacher catalog and I got my color inspiration from it.  I also painted and recovered my glider (see below picture) to make it cheery in the room. As a teacher, I not only want my kids to love school I want them to feel that they are at home.
The tissue paper was used for pom poms to hang above the groups of desks.  After the students are placed in reading groups they will get to name their groups and I will attach the name to the bottom of the pom pom.

As I was transforming my room into the new Dr. Seuss theme, I decided that my old calendar was going to have to be replaced.  I didn't care for the one that went with my theme, so I made up my own.  My old calendar was attached to a cork board.  All I did was hot glue burlap to the cork board, used the small chevron ribbon to cover the edges and the bigger chevron ribbon to use at the top so I could clip the days of the week on it.  I used my alphabet stamps to write the days of the week.  The squares to make the calendar grid are made from baker's twine. I found all of the supplies including, the round tags and the mini clothes pins at Hobby Lobby.  

Above is my rocking chair that I painted and recovered.  I couldn't find an original picture of the glider, but I am sure most of you know what they look like.  I did however remember to snap a photo of the original ugly fabric.  

Finished Product!
This is the transformation...I absolutely love my classroom and so do the kids!  The pictures are small, but I wanted to share so many and didn't want to bombard you with all of them.  
As you can see I hung the tissue pom poms above the desks.  
In the far right (bottom) picture, I used hooks to hang dry erase boards for my Common Core Targets (if you are a know what I mean).  I figured if I am required to post my Targets, I was going to do it in a creative way.
Every year, I read a book called Everybody Needs a Rock.  It basically gives rules on how to find a rock that is just right for you.  After I read it we talk about how we are all individuals and are unique in our own way.  Then, they have homework that find a rock that represents who they are.  The next day, they have to tell the class what makes them unique and then they drop the rock in the 'Community Rock Jar' (this is a great classroom community builder).  I put their names on their rock and the rocks stay there for the year and on the last day of school I give them back to them (or when they move).  If you are a teacher, you know what name sticks are, but for those of you who aren't...I put each student's name on a popsicle stick and when I want to call on kids I will draw a name.  I always tell the class that, 'everybody is a thinker'...that way the same kids aren't answering all of the questions.

 Every year the kids have to draw and watercolor a 'Self Portrait', so I frame them in a mat with their name and a cupcake (they decorate) with their date of birth on it.  I just couldn't resist sharing them with you...they always turn out adorable and add a lot of character to our classroom. 

'Our New Pack is something new I did this year.  My daughter (Madi) sent me a pin on Pinterest with this idea.  I ran with it and made it my own.  For the crayon box I used some tag board that I had and cut it to be a rectangle, then I covered it with a yellow piece of construction paper.  After that I cut the green strips (in different widths) for the corners of the 'crayon box'.  For the words 'Our New Pack' I just typed it in Microsoft Word and printed it.  I then attached a picture that we took on the first day of school.  Each student colored a crayon (in their favorite color) and I taped them to the window to make it look like they fell out of the box.  I plan to do this every year from now really helps build a community and lets everybody know that we are all in this together.
Ok...I have to say that the 'daily schedule' is my FAVORITE.  My husband made it!  I originally saw a paper version of it, but wanted to make a statement with my 'daily schedule'.  We have tons of scrap wood in our garage and I knew Craig (my husband) could make it happen.  I showed him the picture of what I wanted and he went to town.  I will share the tutorial of this sign next week.  I think it would be cute in a child's room with different places they want to go or have been.  
As for the 'Magic Ink Fun Center', it was a freebie from my friend.  She no longer wanted it in her room, so I took it.  Nothing like FREE stuff (especially when you are a teacher).  I plan on transforming this, but haven't had time.  The idea I have for this, is to spray paint it with chalk paint and write things on it.  When this is transformed I will share it with you. 

I made this poster (FREE) for all of my teammates and some of my other teacher friends!  I truly think that teachers have some type of 'superpower' because of everything we are required to teach and deal with on a daily basis.  But when you see the transformation at the end of the year it is well worth it.
Thanks for letting me share my home away from home with you!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Food Frenzy Friday ~ Gooey Chocolate Chip Sandwich Bars

Okay, these cookies are THE BEST!!! A friend of mine made them for a meeting we had and I craved them so much that I had to make them as soon as possible to fulfill my craving!

Here is the recipe:

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper, allowing enough overhang on the long side to lift the bars from the pan.
2. Prepare the gooey chocolate filling: Place the chocolate chips and condensed milk in a small saucepan over the lowest possible heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, add vanilla, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Prepare the cookie dough: Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Beat well. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add to the butter mixture. Beat until everything is well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Prepare the bars: Using half of the batch of cookie dough, place dollops into the prepared pan and press down lightly to even it out. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the dough and then add small dollops of the remaining dough on top. Don't worry if the dollops don't completely cover the chocolate mixture. Just spread it together as much as you can, and let some chocolate peek through.
5. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, then cut into 32 bars.

Gotta love a close-up! 
Don't forget the milk! Enjoy!!
~ Kerri

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pallet Art

There are so many projects out there made with pallets.  After Tabatha and I made our BFF necklaces we were conjuring up our next project...we decided it had to be something with a pallet.  So we jumped on Craigslist to find 'FREE' pallets in our area.  We found an add that said to come get the pallets from an alley way, well...first of all we couldn't find the address, then we finally found the place.  After all of that driving around, we got there to find out that both entrances to the alley were blocked because of construction!   We were a little disappointed but on our way back to my house we saw some pallets sitting next to a dumpster by our local university.  They said, the pallets were ours if we wanted them.  After digging through the pile we found 4 of them that we felt were in pretty good shape, so we loaded them in the car and headed home to hide them from my husband.

For my pallet I had to remove one of the back boards to replace a missing one on the front.  After all of that work we realized that mine was a taller pallet (we thought about finding a new one, but I decided I would give it a try to see if I liked it...I ended up liking it).  
Paints and stains we used (between the two of us we had everything we needed).

  • Mark off the 'blue' section of the flag.  Cover the surrounding areas (so they don't get over spray on them).
  • Spray paint the blue (Krylon... Gloss Navy Blue), after it is dry remove the coverings and paint the rest of the flag.
  • Use 'Dark Aging Wax' (or stain) to age the paint.
  • Make baseball hearts (see below pictures).
  • Attach the hearts.
When you cut the lace of the baseball, I found that it stayed in (after you separated it) if you cut at an angle.  After you take the ball apart you hold it with both hands and then twist it to make the heart shape.  You have to kind of work with it to get it the shape you want.  Then you put some hot glue to put it together.
After you get all of the baseballs cut and glued into a heart shape you can start attaching them to your pallet.  As the picture below states: we did not measure, we just eye-balled the placement. (Neither of our husbands would approve of this method...they have to measure and level everything)
Tabatha and I both decided it is GREAT to craft with your friend that doesn't take offense to you bossing them around.  We were both very bossy on this project, but we think it turned out for the best...what is your thought?
I hung this pallet in my house...stay tuned for the post featuring it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gift Wrapping

There must be something in the water here because everyone is pregnant, including myself, so needless to say, I have been attending (or throwing) baby showers!  With all the cute gift bags and wrapping paper I could have bought, I decided to change it up and did my own thing!
The gift I picked out for this particular shower was quite large, so it would have taken a lot of wrapping paper, but luckily, I had enough brown wrapping paper to fit it.
I had made some burp clothes and baby blankets using this pink & white polka dot material, so I figured I would use the scraps to add color to my wrapping; plus it was a baby girl shower. I had the twine and using a little glue from my glue gun, I wrapped it around the gift. I purchased the flower and stuck it through the material to give it a little pop!

Here is a picture of the back.  Since I didn't think the glue from my glue gun would hold the material, I decided to just tie it...good thing it was stretchy!
So, whether you are attending a baby shower, birthday party or anything where a gift is to be brought, creating your own wrapping is always fun and everyone seems to love it!
~ Kerri

Friday, August 16, 2013

'FOOD FRENZY FRIDAY' (Cauliflower Pizza)

A favorite meal of ours is Cauliflower Pizza.  We have it at least once a week.  I try not to eat a lot of carbs, so when I found this recipe I decided to give it a try.  First of all I have to say...I absolutely love cauliflower and of course, (who doesn't) love pizza.   So I knew I would love this pizza.  When I tried the recipe I did exactly what the recipe said, but now (I have to admit) I basically add whatever I like at that moment.
This is what you will need:  cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, 2 (or more) cloves of minced garlic, an egg, some oregano, salt, pepper, and whatever sauce and toppings you want on your pizza.  Click on the above 'recipe' link for the original recipe.

You need to rice the cauliflower in your food processor until it looks like this.  Then you need to microwave the riced cauliflower (8-10 minutes).

After the cauliflower is cooked add 1 cup (I use less than this) mozzarella cheese, the egg, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper and stir it all together.  Next, put it on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 450.

Now it's time for the good stuff...the toppings.  We like BBQ chicken pizza, so I added the BBQ sauce, then some more cheese (just enough to cover the crust).  After the sauce and cheese I added cooked chicken, tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro.

We enjoyed our pizza with a salad! 
 If you go to my Pinterest board, you are sure to find many more 'Healthy' recipes.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Love You Because....

Like most of us couples out there, we get busy with our day-to-day lives and forget to take the time to tell one another why we love the other, so when I came across this idea, I thought how perfect for my husband & I to share little notes once in a while
What a great idea, right?! And the beauty of it was this it only cost me the frame!!
Off to Ross I went to purchase this frame.... 
I spent a whoop'n $7.99 (plus tax)!!!

I removed the matting and flipped the paper inside so it was just a white background. Then using my Cricut, I measured the size of the letters & heart I wanted and cut them out using vinyl. A step I didn't take a photo of is one you will always want to use when placing words on something....make a straight line so your words are straight! You can do this by using tape (and a ruler if you are extra detailed!!)
Once the vinyl was place on the outside of the glass, I tied some ribbon on it, hung it and grabbed a dry-erase marker (I used red, but you can use any color you want) & wrote my first note, "You Put Up With Me!"
Since the sign has been hung, we have passed messages back and forth to one another, sometimes leaving the previous note up for nostalgic purpose! It's been a lot of fun!
You can always do this with a roommate, parent, child or sibling! It's always nice to hear what you mean to someone else, especially when you don't have the time to tell them verbally!!
Now your turn to create it!
~ Kerri

Monday, August 12, 2013

Guest Bedroom Turned Dorm Room

  About a month ago my husband and I (Julie) became 'Empty Nesters'.  Our baby, Madi, moved in with  her Uncle Brent and Aunt Kerri (and cousin Eliana) in California to attend Baking School.  This is an arrangement we had talked about for over a year and Brent and Kerri were gracious enough to allow Madi to live with them. This meant we were going to have to change Kerri's craft room/office/guest bedroom into a 'dorm room.'  Madi wanted it to have a dorm feel, since her school didn't offer actual dorms, so we got her a new desk and a few other things to accomplish that task.

Here is the transformation:
Kerri's Craft Room/Office/Guest Bedroom

The armoire is still in the room, just in a different spot and Madi changed the knobs.  The knobs you see in this picture are the knobs that Kerri used on her 'New Computer Desk' (see post here).
These are the knobs Madi chose at Hobby Lobby & the hamper was from The Container Store, with the exception of the liner.  I made the liner and was going to have a tutorial, but that didn't go so there is the picture with NO tutorial because of the issues I had with the darn thing!

The shelves are from Madi's room at home.  A 'dorm room' wouldn't be complete without photos of friends and family!

The bulletin board was another item brought from home.  We changed the fabric and ribbon to match her new colors.  The filing cabinet was from IKEA.  Madi and I put it together...I have to say this is one of my favorites in her new room.  

The desk was another IKEA find and it cost us around $50.  The legs and the table top can be sold separately, which allows you to personalize the style you want.  The table top was on sale for only $6 and the legs were $12.50 each.

All Finished!
We were very pleased with how Madi's 'dorm room' turned out and she loves living with her Aunt, Uncle, & cousin!

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