Lazy Cooking Hack: Don’t Dirty Your Spoon Holder

Are y’all all about having as little to wash as possible after you’re done cooking? 

How many of you eat certain foods over the sink? 🙋
Wait until your husband is done with his drink to use his cup? 🙋

Heehee. I’m making myself laugh. I don’t do these all the time, but there are random occasions when I’m in the mood to keep it simple. Like right now.

Got a saucy spoon?  Got a clean spoon holder you don’t see the sense in dirtying? Look no further!

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Your random veggie scraps can come to the rescue!

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Yes. I’m using my broccoli stem to keep my spoon holder clean. Don’t judge me.

(This whole thing really entertained me!)

My Classroom Mini-Tour

We’re well into the school year, but I figured I’d post some pictures of my classroom. These were taken at the beginning of the year so the room looked a bit emptier than it is now.And of course I’ve made a few changes. But here it is!

Here you see my small group area. That huge bulky table was not ideal there (and don’t mind the ugly mustard chair)! Thankfully another teacher gave me the cutest banana table (not shown)!! I love it, and it fits perfectly!!
The red and blue cabinet holds my Math center manipulatives, and on the window there’s a cute birthday banner I got for free on Teachers Pay Teachers!

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This was my beginning of the year bulletin board. Super classic. Totally stole it off Pinterest 😁

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Here is our carpet area where we do our Math meeting and basically all other lesson introductions. I am SO glad that I’ve moved the carpet back aaand that my new smaller table gives us more space than this one did. (I’m glad I no longer have the kids right under my feet too!) I love that each child gets his/her own assigned square. That makes things soooo much easier!
On the left are the hooks my kids hang their backpacks on.

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Here is my counter and cabinet area. I am beyond thankful for all the storage space, and the size of my room in general! I totally upgraded! Last year, it seemed like my room was 1/3 of the size of this one.
I’m using my cabinets as a word wall, and have repositionable sticky notes on there. The kids can take a word to their seats when they are writing, and then stick them back on the correct letter when they are done.
I have a paint chip border on my bulletin board, which I absolutely love! I saw the idea online, and really wanted to do it. But I kind of felt like a criminal taking so many paint chips from Home Depot, and even though I felt like I took a lot, I didn’t have enough. So I only did the top and bottom borders.

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Here is my library. I am SOOO happy with it! I legitimately used a few cardboard boxes in my library last year. The whole thing was a disaster! What a huge improvement!  I got all the containers from my team leader! She was so kind to give them to me!!

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Here’s my desk area, mailboxes, and book boxes for Daily 5.

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And lastly, here’s my clip chart, bathrooms, writing center, and computer area (pre-computers).
The red bins have supplies the kids could need. It’s easily accessible to them so they can access extra glue sticks, crayons, etc., as needed.

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I just realized I don’t have a picture of the whole room! If I find one I’ll post it. Happy Saturday! 🙂

PERFECT Brown Rice EVERY TIME!

From saveur.com

I had never made brown rice before…ever.

But I HAD heard that it was very difficult to get right. That was a little scary, considering I already struggle with white rice!

Since I was starting the Daniel Fast, I knew I should probably look into how to cook brown rice.

You can read about my Daniel Fast at these posts:

Why am I doing the Daniel Fast?

The Beginning of My Daniel Fast

So I used good ol’ trusty Google, and typed in, “How to cook perfect brown rice”…great search, right? I mean, I didn’t want just mediocre rice; I needed something tried and proven to be perfect!

Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. And I did find How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice, by Nicole on pinchmysalt.com.

So I followed the directions, step-by-step, and guess what?!? It WAS perfect!! I was SO excited! I’ve made it several times since, and it hasn’t failed me! (…except for the one time I didn’t follow the directions properly)

The only thing I had a little bit of difficulty with was reading the directions all in one paragraph, since I love being able to see each step laid out. So I decided to re-post it here.

**I do not take ANY credit for these directions, I did NOT write them!**
***Although I did simplify and modify some of it for easier readability!***


 

Directions for perfect brown rice

You will need…

brown rice
water –  4 cups of water for every cup of rice
salt – to taste

Steps:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
  2. When water boils, add the rice, stir it once.
  3. Turn heat to medium and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. After 30 minutes, drain the water.
  5. Let the rice drain for 10 seconds, then return it to the pot, off the heat (this is the part I forgot that one time…make sure for this step you keep it OFF THE HEAT!)
  6. Immediately cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes .
  7. After ten minutes, uncover rice, fluff with a fork, and season with salt to taste.

 

So thanks to Nicole from Pinch My Salt, and to saveur.com, for help mastering perfect brown rice!

Paint a Rock for Your Garden!

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My new cute garden rock!

Hello everyone!

We have this little dirt plot outside our kitchen window, by our front entryway. I call it a dirt plot because it is basically dirt. As I mentioned in my last post, gardening is not a gift of mine! But I do want to make our entryway look nice…so I’m working on it.

A friend of ours gave us a little decorative stone that had a Bible verse somehow stuck onto it. It seemed like it was paper with a clear coat over it to protect it from the elements. It was nice, but pretty plain. The verse was written in black font that was very tiny, so it wasn’t super exciting. (Sorry I didn’t take any before pictures!)

One day I noticed that parts of the verse were starting to peel off. I then got all excited about doing something new with our little stone! Painting it sounded fun!

I went onto good ol’ trusty Pinterest, and looked up “Christ the rock.” I found all sorts of cute word art that I could use as inspiration.

I finally found one I liked, and set out to paint my rock!

Here is what I did:

  1. I brought the rock in and scraped all the paper, dirt, and other gunk off of it. I used a brush and scrubbed it so it would be nice and clean for me to paint on.
  2. As it was drying, I gathered my painting supplies. Here’s what I used:
    • A bottle of 88 cent acrylic paint from Walmart
    • A thin paint brush
    • Newspaper
    • a Q-tip (which didn’t work too well for me)

3. Using the ideas I found from the word art, I attempted to re-create the cute fonts and writing styles.

And there you have it! I first started out using the Q-tip, which is what I wrote the word “Christ” with. You can see in the photo that it came out super thick. I didn’t really like that, so I did the rest of it using my thin paintbrush. I’m sure Q-tips would be great if you were doing a design instead of words.

So there’s a simple, cheap, close-to-free project you can do to add a little cuteness to your garden or entryway. It would be pretty awesome to have a bunch of rocks…how cool would it be to make a whole set? You could do one word on each rock, or a bunch of related pictures/designs. That would be so fun! And this is definitely something your kids can help you with!

My Attempt at Growing Sweet Potatoes…You Can Try Too!

I LOVE sweet potatoes. So much. Like I would be perfectly okay with trading out sweet potatoes out for regular potatoes in everything…

Sweet potato fries, chips, baked, mashed, scalloped…even sweet potato hash browns! Which I don’t know if they exist, but I want them!

Anyhow, I heard it’s pretty easy to grow sweet potatoes. So I did some research,  and I found that:

  1. You have to start with an organic sweet potato. Apparently if it’s not organic, they treat it with a chemical that keeps sprouts from growing!
  2. You cut the sweet potato in half.
  3. You put the sweet potato halves cut side down, into a container of water.
  4. You leave them in a place that gets a decent amount of sun.
  5. That’s it! Well for the initial process that is!
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My sweet potato halves in a container of water! Super simple!

I first put my container in our kitchen window. But that window barely receives any sun. So after a few days of feeling like nothing was happening, I decided to leave it out on our screened-in back patio.

I FAIL at gardening. Anything I have tried to grow in the past has NEVER worked. So when I saw that all this took (initially) was water and a food container (the soil thing is still a bit scary for me at this point), I had to give it a shot!

It has been 12 days since I initially put them in water. I don’t have to keep re-watering them. I just let them sit. On the back patio. That’s it.

And look at what has happened so far!!!

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Sweet potato #1: There is actually a white root growing! I’m SO excited!

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Sweet potato #2: It has a brown root growing! Pretty cool!

Both sweet potato halves each have a little root growing out of them! That is too exciting! I cannot wait to see the progress! I will keep you all posted!

And I challenge you to try growing your own! I heard it’s the perfect time of year to start, because the timing of it works out to where you can plant the sprouts in the spring. So go ahead and try! And let me know how it goes for you!

Tutorial: Sharpie Designs on Glass (Superman, Avengers, Batman & Freehand)

Hello! So I’ve been wanting to try the Sharpie on glass project I’ve seen on Pinterest. I figured Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time!

I headed over to Old Time Pottery. My original plan was the Dollar Tree, but I remembered that OTP has a huge selection of glasses.

I knew I’d be making one for my hubby, as well as a few for our friends who are regulars at our home! I figured I’d give them each their own personalized glass to use when they come over!

Thankfully, OTP had some tall 24 oz. glasses on sale for 89 cents each! Can’t beat that! I bought five, and am going back for some more today. I also got a plain white mug at the Dollar Store for my Mami!

To make your Sharpie glasses, here is what you’ll need:

  • Sharpies (I’ve heard BIC permanent markers work too)
  • Glass, mug, or whatever you’d like to use
  • Oven (this is SUCH a cheap project!)
  • Alcohol/Nail polish remover & Q-tip (for mistakes)
  • Optional:
    • Tracing/parchment paper
    • Tape
    • Pencil
    • X-acto blade or scissors (check out the SWEET x-acto kit my hubby bought! It came in a cute wooden case and anything! I would’ve never bought this for myself, so I was thrilled!

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If you want to do a logo or clean design, the tracing paper/x-acto option is the way to go. It came out so nice this way. But if you’re doing lyrics, a quote, a Bible verse, etc., you can free-hand it. I posted photos of some like that further down.

Instructions for making your AWESOME custom Sharpie glasses:

  1. Google the logo you’d like to do. My hubby is a Superman guy. So I did a search in Google images. I liked the way the negative image looked, so I decided to go with that.
  2. Tape your tracing paper over your screen. Make sure the image is the size you want it to be on your glass.
  3. Trace your design.

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4.Once you’ve traced your design, use your x-acto to cut out the correct parts. I found that it is easier if the parts you cut out are the ones that you will fill in with the Sharpie. I hope that makes sense. Because of the Sharpie being thick, it comes out nicer if you are filling in the empty spaces with the Sharpie, instead of tracing the outlines of the parts you want to fill in later. Comment if you need clarification!

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Clarification for Step #4: This is what I did before I cut my design out. I shaded in the parts THAT I WANTED SHADED on the glass. Cut out the shaded parts! (That’s better!)

5. Tape your design onto the glass. Use your Sharpie to trace around the lines.

6. Remove the tracing paper. If you want to use it again, be careful not to rip it!

7. Now you can fill in the areas you traced. It can sometimes be tricky filling in large areas, because the Sharpie makes lines that sometimes erase parts you’ve already filled in (you’ll see what I mean). Just play around with it until you get it the way you want!

Here is the Superman glass and the Avengers glass before I put them in the oven!

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There are many reports that the Sharpie on glass starts to come off, even after putting it in the oven. The general way to do it is to put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Diyopolis did a DIY Sharpie and BIC Mug experiment, and she found that a higher temperature seems to work!

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Oven directions:

1. Put your glass on a cookie sheet. If you’re doing just one mug/glass, you can place it right on the rack. This just makes it easier to put them in and take them out.

2. Preheat your oven to 425. Diyopolis recommends putting the glass in while the oven is preheating.

3. Once the oven reaches 425, set a timer for 30 minutes.

4. After your 30 minutes are up, turn off your oven and slightly open the oven door. Leave the glass in there as the oven cools down. This gives your glass some extra bake time, and it allows everything to cool a bit before you take it out!

And here are the finished products!

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The first mug is for my Mami. It says “Walk by faith, not by sight.”

The next four are for our guy friends, and then my hubby (Batman, Avengers, Korean, and Superman). The one in Korean says, “wit” for our witty friend! 🙂

And the last one is for our sister. It is also a Bible verse.

You can see close-ups of some of them below:

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Walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

 

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My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

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I was going to do the regular Batman logo, but I thought this one was TOO cool, with the Batman face in there!

I hope you all like this! I’m telling you, 89 cents + a Sharpie + an oven is probably the cheapest, coolest gift you could make!

We will probably fill our friends’ cups with their favorite candy, as we surprise them with their permanent and personalized glasses for when they come over!

And I am giving my hubby his Superman glass tomorrow morning for Valentine’s Day, along with a soda I bought him that says “You’re SODA amazing.” I wrote about all my candy gifts for him here.

I can’t wait to see what they all think! Let me know if you try this project! I am going to make two more today for two other friends!