Sunday, December 30, 2012

Baked Chicken Parmesan

I ate too much at Christmas. 

Shocker huh?  I think we all feel like we've gained ten pounds (or more) after we have eaten our way through Christmas gatherings, but Christmas food is just so delicious!  More pecan pie please. 

When we returned home and all of our Christmas eating was over, we watched a commercial for Weight Watchers.  We've watched them 100 times before, but we actually had a conversation about this particular commerical, maybe because the guy's name in the commerical was Matt and my Matt could relate.  It must have been good advertising because within five minutes I was signed up...again...for Weight Watchers.  As the commerical states, it was easy for Matt because his wife did all the work and well, it will be easy for my Matt because I will do all the cooking work and he will just get to eat it and hopefully get a little skinnier. 

I had great success with WW back in my single days in Texarkana when I ran the Wellness Program and hosted a WW program at my office.  Now that I'm married, I haven't had as much luck!  I'm hoping this go around will be different and, like everyone else around New Years, I will actually shed a few pounds.

I came across skinnytaste.com several months ago and, now more than ever, glad I happened upon it.  All of her recipes are "skinny", but "tasty" as Gina states.  What I like about her recipes is that she has the Weight Watchers points listed with the recipes.  A few nights ago I decided to try her Baked Chicken Parmesan.  It is rare that I have all of the ingredients for a recipe in my pantry or refrigerator, but this night I did, and lucky for me because the roads were covered in ice and I wasn't going to make it to the grocery store.  Matt was skeptical, but after he tried it he was excited and said it was great - "it is healthy, but has flavor!" 

To get Gina's recipe for Baked Chicken Parmesan, just follow this link: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/04/baked-chicken-parmesan.html


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Little Hallway

The Christmas spirit was alive and well in the K-2 hallway of the elementary school I teach at! It all started when this appeared next door. Libby was the creative mastermind behind the igloo and started the door decorating frenzy.


Throughout the next week all of our doors became transformed and we had our own little Santa's Wonderland in our hall! We had been doing a lot of reindeer and Rudolph activities in First Grade so my door's theme was Rudolph. I found a cute Rudolph camera app on my phone so all my kids were transformed into Rudolph with antlers and a bright, shiny red nose. It's hard to see, but if you look closely at the top next to Santa you may find me with a big white beard and Santa hat. Libby is to thank for my Rudolph and Santa Claus!


Mrs. Furnell - Second Grade


Ms. Edge - Second Grade


Mrs. Lisko - Second Grade


Mrs. Stephanie - First Grade


Mrs. Hurt - First Grade


Mrs. Holli - Kindergarten


Mrs. Lucinda - Kindergarten


Mrs. Martin - GT


Mrs. Debbie - Special Education Clerk


Mrs. Rogers - Librarian


The last door done in the hallway has a rather funny story behind it. Joann, the queen of clean who keeps our rooms and hallway in tip top shape, was the only door that was bare. After she left for the day, we decided that we needed to surprise her and have her door decorated when she arrived to school the next morning. Libby drew me a gingerbread and left school. I got her all dolled up ready to go in the laminator. I would laminate her, hang her up, and she would be so surprised. Well, things don't always go as planned. Ginger, as we later named her, got halfway through the laminating machine and it just died. Overheated. Oh no! About 20 minutes later, it came back on, but Ginger was ruined. A few emergency calls to Libby and by the time Joann arrived at school the next morning, she had a happy holiday door! Later, when asked what happened to Ginger, our story stood that Ginger got a little crispy in the oven!


Now that we are on Christmas break, all of our holiday door decorations are put away and we are ready to begin the new year, but we enjoyed our merry little hallway while it lasted. Thanks Libby for the inspiration and creative drawings on our doors!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Linky Party & Holiday Bacon Appetizers!


Today is our Christmas Linky Party!  We have done one for Fall and Thanksgiving and there have been so many great ideas submitted.  I can't wait to see what is submitted for Christmas!  When you link up with Harvest Home, your link is immediately seen on the other blogs as well.  It is a wonderful way to discover new blogs and to share great recipes and other Christmas ideas. 

The hostesses are Meg from Henning Love, Allison from Cupcake Diaries, and Elizabeth from Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box.

A great holiday appetizer are Pioneer Woman's Holiday Bacon Appetizers.  She featured them this weekend on her cooking show on Food Network.  On her show she made two kinds - one kind was with parmesan cheese and the other with brown sugar.  I made both for our Christmas party this weekend.  If I had to choose one, I think I would choose the sweet ones!


Holiday Bacon Appetizers 

1 pkg Club Crackers
1 lb. Thin Sliced Bacon (or more depending on crackers)
Brown Sugar
Optional: Grated Parmesan Cheese instead of Brown Sugar

Lay crackers (as many as you want) face up on a cookie sheet.  Scoop about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar onto each cracker.  Cut your package of bacon in half and carefully wrap each sugar covered cracker with one piece of bacon, completely covering the cracker.  It should fit snugly around the cracker. 

Place the bacon wrapped crackers onto a baking sheet that has a rack on it.  Place in a 250 degree oven and bake for 2 hours.


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Mrs. Thompson's Story

One day I went to my mailbox at school and found this heart warming story.  I had to pass it along.
 
Mrs. Thompson's Story
 
There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher.  Her name was Mrs. Thompson.  She stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school and told the children a lie.  Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.  But that was impossible because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
 
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with other children, that his clothes were messy, and that he constantly needed a bath.  And Teddy could be unpleasant.  It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, marking bold X's and then putting a big F at the top of his papers.
 
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last.  However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.  Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh.  He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."  His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."  His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him.  He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."  Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class."
 
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.  She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's.  His present was clumsily wrapped in heavy brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.
 
Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents.  Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. She stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.  Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to."
 
Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy.  As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive.  The more she encouraged him, he faster he responded.  By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became her favorite.
 
A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.  Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy.  He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.  Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest honors.  He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.
 
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came.  This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further.  The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had.  Now his name was a little longer - the letter was signed Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
 
The story doesn't end there.  You see, there was yet another letter that spring.  Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married.  He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.  Of course, Mrs. Thompson did.  And guess what?  She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing.  And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.  They hugged each other and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you, Mrs. Thompson for believing in me.  Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."  Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.  She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong.  You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference.  I didn't know how to teach until I met you." 
 
This story speaks for itself. 
 
 
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Upside Down Apple Pecan Pie

Five years ago I made an Upside Down Apple Pecan Pie to take to our family's Thanksgiving dinner and five years later, I am still taking apple pie!  My mom had made this apple pie before and suggeested it to me to take that first year.  My mother-in-law told me a story about her mother making apple pie and my father-in-law loved it, but since she had passed away he hadn't eaten apple pie...until I started bringing it to Thanksgiving dinner and he loves to eat a slice of my warm apple pie.  I plan on taking a few more other dishes this year to dinner, but I know that I will be in trouble if I show up without apple pie! 
 
 
 
Upside Down Apple Pecan Pie
 
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine, melted
15 oz. package Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crust (roll out kind)
6 cups sliced apples (5-6 apples)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
 
Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a 10" pie plate, combine pecans, brown sugar, and margarine; spread evenly over bottom of the pan.  Unroll one pie crust and place over pecan mixture in pan.
 
In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, and cinnamon; mix lightly.  Spoon into pie crust lined pan.  Top with second pie crust.  Lightly mash edges together and flute to seal the two crusts together. Cut slits in several places on the top crust.  Place on cookie sheet (to keep from dirtying the oven!) and bake for 40-50 minutes until crust is golden brown and apples are tender.
 
Cool pie upright in pan for 5 minutes.  Place serving plate over pie; invert.  Carefully remove pan.  Some nuts may remain in pan.  Scoop them up and replace them on pie!
 
Cool at least one hour before serving...or not! :)


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Saturday, November 17, 2012

fab five girls weekend

Two weeks ago I met my nearest and dearest four best friends in Hot Springs for our annual Fab Five Girls Weekend!  Unfortunately, it has been a year since we were all together, but time and miles can't separate us :)  Katie found us a great cabin on the lake.  It was such a relaxing weekend of catching up and spending time with the ones who know me best. 
 
The leaves had started turning and it was beautiful!
 
 
 
 
 
We stayed in on Friday night since we were all arriving at different times.  Saturday, well, we didn't get out of our pajamas until it was time for dinner that night!  We spent the day on the deck and down on the dock with our toes in the water, watched college football, and reminisced all day long :)
 
Funny story - We were trying to get my camera set up with the timer and I couldn't get it to work.  I was heading inside to get my camera manual, not paying attention, and smacked right into the glass door.  Hard.  I do admit, it was quite funny, but man it hurt! 
 
 
 
 
  
 
Megan, Amy, and Allison were talking to Knox and Sloane on Facetime.  Can you tell?
 
 
 
 
We had dinner at Central Park Fusion, the best restaurant in Hot Springs! The girls had salmon and I had a steak and I will say it was probably the best steak I've ever eaten.  If you are ever there, you need to check it out! 
 
During college when we would all come home, we would all end up at Fat Jacks, the local bar in Texarkana.  They just opened up a new one in Hot Springs so we had to stop by!  We stayed to watch the LSU/Alabama game and then headed back to the cabin.
 
 
 
We all headed back to our homes on Sunday morning.  It was so great to be with my loves for the weekend and I was so sad to leave.  Hopefully it won't be a year next time :)
 
 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Linky Party!

Welcome to the Thanksgiving Linky Party! 

The hostesses are Elizabeth from Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box, Meg from Henning Love, and Allison from Cupcake Diaries, and we are so excited to see what you link up with for Thanksgiving!  Link up with Thanksgiving recipes, decor, crafts, DIY projects, or anything else your thankful heart desires!

When you link up on Harvest Home, it will show up on the other blogs as well. 

Be sure to come back on December 10 for our Christmas Linky Party where you can link up Christmas ideas - I can't wait for that!!!

These turkey cookies are the cutest!  They would be great to make with your children at home.  I wish I had seen these sooner and I would have made one for each of my students for Thanksgiving!


We talk a lot about being thankful at school.  For all you teachers reading, this would be a great idea to do in your classroom!  I'm filing it away for next Thanksgiving since we only have one day left of school before a week out for Thanksgiving :)

via thefirstgradeparade.blogspot.com

Be sure to link up!  Can't wait to see all your Thanksgiving ideas!


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Sunday, October 14, 2012

scarf swap reveal

Last month I participated in the 4th Annual Scarf Swap that Meredith hosted on her blog. I was paired with Heather from The Transplanted Texans. I had so much fun shopping for her scarf and loved it so much that I bought myself one! I was so excited when I received a package in the mail from Heather! I knew my scarf had arrived. I was in for a surprise! I didn't get just one scarf...I got two! I like the striped scarf, but am in loooove with the gray one! I can see lots of wearing of both of these scarves this winter...if it ever gets cold :)
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Fall Y'all Linky Party!

Happy Fall Y'all! 
 
It's October 1st which means it's time for our Happy Fall Y'all Linky Party!  In case you missed the announcement a few days ago, a few of my blog friends and I are having a linky party today to share cute, fun, fall ideas!  You can link up with recipes, DIY crafts, decorations or whatever your heart desires!  The sweet girls hosting with me are:
 
 



Meg from Henning Love
 
 
and Allison from Cupcake Diaries
 

We are excited to see what you link up with! 
 
I got busy decorating my front porch this weekend and it is all ready.  Now if I can find time to get the inside of my house done :)  Here's a look at my front porch.
 


A funny little story about the corn stalks:
 
I bought the corn stalks. 
 
 I know...you don't find that very amusing do you? Would it be more amusing if I told you my husband is a farmer and grows corn?  What person would go and buy corn stalks at a pumpkin patch when her husband grows corn?  Well, pretty much everyone around here does and while we think it's a smart idea during harvest, we don't actually go to the farm and get any.  Plus, I'm pretty sure I don't want to store them in fear that I may get lots of little critter visitors!
 


I'm sure I'm not the only one who hates those ugly black plastic containers that mums come in.  My solution?  Wrap in burlap!
 


I've used the same fall wreath for several years, but this year I was ready for something new.  I had this one made at a local florist and love how it turned out!




Alright, it is your turn! 


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Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Linky Party on October 1st!

I can't tell ya'll how excited I am that FALL is here!  It doesn't quite feel like fall outside here in Arkansas yet, but I am starting to see pumpkins and mums in everyone's yard and I am getting the fall itch.  I'm ready for the cooler weather, the holidays, and lots of yummy fall recipes.  I plan on getting my pumpkins Saturday morning, before the Aggies play the Razorbacks...that's another blog post in itself, and will have my house decked out before the weekend is over! 

I'm excited to announce that several blog friends and I are hosting a

"Happy Fall Y'all! Linky Party on October 1st!

Link up with your favorite recipes, DIY crafts, fall decorations, or anything you want to share!  When you link up with Harvest Home, your link will automatically be shared with the other blogs participating.  It's a wonderful way to get some new great ideas for fall!

The three other sweet girls participating are:


Meg from Henning Love

Allison from Cupcake Diaries

We are excited to see what everyone comes up with so please join us on Monday! 



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Sunday, September 23, 2012

7 UP Biscuits

I have never made a homemade biscuit....until last week. Honestly, it was just a lot easier to buy Grands and they tasted good to me! My mom sent me a recipe for 7-Up Biscuits that she had found that had...wait for it...4 ingredients!




I had the recipe for a while and never made them. One day I went by my mother-in-law's house and she had a plate of the biscuits waiting on me. Come to find out, my mother had sent her the recipe too and she just couldn't wait to fix them! One bite and I was sold. They were so moist and delicious. Next time you need some biscuits, forget about Grands and try these!




7 UP Biscuits
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7 UP
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut sour cream into Bisquick mix. Add 7 UP, which will make a soft dough. Sprinkle counter with a little Bisquick mix. Add dough and pat it out. Melt butter and pour it into a 9" square baking pan. Cut your biscuits and arrange them in the pan on top of the melted butter. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

plainchicken.com

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