Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pinterest Recipe Test: Mug Mac 'n Cheese

I LOVE mac 'n cheese! So one day I got a craving, but didn't want to make a big recipe of it and I was feeling lazy (hey we all have those days!). Plus in an effort to eat healthier I have purged the house of all boxed mac 'n cheese and Easy Mac. To Pinterest I went looking for a single serving of mac 'n cheese. I found the following recipe for mac 'n cheese in a mug: 1/3 cup whole grain pasta, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Tried putting it all in the bug and putting it in the microwave. The result was an EPIC FAIL!! I had water, milk, and melted cheese all over the microwave plus the pasta was dried out. So I played around with the recipe a little to find the perfect balance, and I came up with the following:

Mug Mac 'n Cheese
1. Put 1/3 cup whole grain pasta and 1/2 cup water in a large mug. Microwave for 2-3 minutes. Put a paper towel down since there will be some water than bubbles over.
2. Stir in a little bit of butter (to taste) and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Add a splash of milk (about 1-2 Tbls) to make as creamy as you like.
3. Enjoy!

Here are some pictures to go along with the instructions.

So it doesn't look like the Easy Mac or Kraft box mix, but it's healthier and tastes SO much better! What's your favorite thing to make in a mug?

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Garden: April 2014

It's spring! That means time to start working in the garden. Weeding, planting starts, weeding, planting seeds, MORE weeding. Between the weather being unpredictable and a busy schedule I haven't had much time to get out. Here are a few picture of what my garden looks like so far.

My rhubarb is coming up nicely thanks to the leaves and rabbit dropping I covered it with in the fall.

Chives as always growing in the corner of the raised bed. Had a chance to pull weeds around it.

Pansies coming back from last year!

White an yellow primroses also coming back from last year!

The raspberries are starting to grow, and also trying to take over! I've been pulling many raspberry shoots from where I don't want them. Also, don't mind the dandelions trying to take over the raised bed right now which are the same ones as last year. This year I promise to tackle them and actually plant something in the raised bed!

First thing I did in the garden was transplant all of my strawberries into this cool tower that my Dad built last year. Got the idea from Seattle Tilth and original post about it can be found here. I can't wait for my strawberries to grow in here!

See?! I did plant something in the raised bed. Leeks and garlic have been growing here all winter. Can't wait for fresh leek and potato soup!

How are your gardens doing so far this spring? I love to hear from you!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Teaching Pre-K: Science Week!

The last week of March was Science Fair week so we did a lot of fun experiments in class. Yes, I realize that this post is a month late, but better late than never right? All of these experiments I either found at Dollar Tree or found on Pinterest.

On Monday we started growing crystals; yep cool green kryptonite-looking ones! It was a kit that I found at Dollar Tree.

We also learned about filters and how they help clean the yucky stuff out of our water. As you can see from the picture we started with a bottle of water and added some dirt to make the gross muddy water below.
 First, we filtered out the bigger stuff with a regular mesh sieve. Below you can see that we got a good amount of the mud our of the water that way.
 Next, we used a coffee filter to get out all of the small particles that were still left.
 Look how gross! Since it was a coffee filter the kids were calling it "coffee". But you can see in the picture above that it made the water clear again.

On Tuesday we started growing the plastic grow frog. Again, found this little guy at Dollar Tree. They had other creatures too, but since we're the Frog class I figured a blue frog would be perfect!
We also started our eggs in vinegar experiment!
Wednesday we rinsed the remaining softened shell off the eggs and the kids were amazed at the rubberized bouncy eggs. I had planned to do an osmosis experiment with them as well, but letting kids touch them means that one broke (creating a huge mess on a tray thankfully!). I had wanted to put one in plain water and one in sugar water. To still demonstrate osmosis and permeable membranes I put the remaining egg in plain water. We spent the rest of the morning with the rest of the school building marble mazes, making cool chromatography art, and watching derby car races!

Thursday was my favorite experiment. I love anything that includes baking soda and vinegar! We made raisins dance, and also had some minor explosions thanks to me. I mixed the baking soda with warm water like the directions told me to, added the raisins, watched them sink to the bottom of the bottle, added the vinegar but it was reacting before getting to the raisins on the bottom. So I put the lid on the bottle and shook it a little bit. When I went to open it it exploded all over the table! The kids thought it was awesome, except one that ran to the back of the room and stayed there until the experiment was over, and wanted me to do it again. :) So I added a little more vinegar and baking soda, put the lid on, shook the bottle, and made it explode again. After two explosions we did indeed have dancing raisins! For the rest of the morning kids were watching them go up and down in the bottle. The picture below is after the reaction was finished and they were all floating on top, but you can still see a few bubbles.

Friday we didn't do any new experiments instead we wrapped up the ones we had started earlier in the week. Below you can see our fully grown crystals as well as the frog. I didn't have a chance to take a picture of the enlarged egg before poking a hole in it with a pin to watch the water shoot out.

What are some of your favorite science experiments to do with kids?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tastes of Spring: Rhubarb

Wow! It has been a while since I've written a new post. It is definitely spring here in the Pacific Northwest, and I love it! Besides the fact that the weather can't make up it's mind and can (and usually does) go from rainy to sunny several times during the day. It makes getting out into the garden or going for a run a little tricky.

On Easter I went up to Mt. Vernon to visit my grandparents and see some tulips. They're so gorgeous!
While I was up there I stopped by my dad's cousin's house to pick some rhubarb. She has a HUGE plant (wish I took a picture of it); so big that you could not even tell I picked about ten stalks! So now I have lots of rhubarb, and need to figure out what I am going to make with it. Such a hard thing to do since my family and I LOVE rhubarb! I cut up 4 cups for a pie for my dad's birthday and stuck that in the freezer. Of course we had warm rhubarb sauce over vanilla ice cream for dessert that night. Now I still have plenty of rhubarb to try out some new recipes. My aunt gave me the Taste of Home Farm Fresh Favorites cookbook for my birthday a few years ago so I decided to look in there. Low and behold they have a whole section with rhubarb recipes; muffins, pie, jam, ice cream, etc. Which one to try first?! This morning I made the Rhubarb Lemon Muffins (recipe in the link), and the turned out great. They are especially delicious with a little butter and homemade strawberry jam!
I think I may try this recipe again, and use grated fresh ginger to replace the lemon peel. They would become rhubarb ginger muffins.

Next recipe to try is the Rhubarb Popover Pie (again recipe is in the link) for breakfast tomorrow! And of course I'll be making a batch of rhubarb jam! What are your favorite things to eat in spring? Do you have a favorite recipe with rhubarb?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Seahawks Mania!

Living in Seattle just got better when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl!! I was already a Seahawks fan, but this was the icing on the cake. To honor this great achievement I have been creating Seahawks fan gear. Everything is available in my Etsy shop:

Braided Seahawks Scarf

Seahawks Football Earflap Beanie

Seahawks Knotted Headband

Of course not everyone is a Seahawks fan. All of these are also available to be customized to your favorite team's colors, or whatever colors you would like.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Teaching Pre-K: Winter Sensory Fun

Wow! It has been so busy, and crazy that I haven't had time to blog recently. I apologize for that!

Anyways, these are three of the winter sensory projects we did in my classroom. All of them were ideas I found on Pinterest; my favorite place for lesson plan ideas.

It seems I have forgotten to take a picture of the first one: snow paint. Found here. My students loved using a paint brush or their fingers to paint a snow storm, snow man, or snow angel.

The next science experiment/sensory project we did was snow slime! It surprised me which kids loved it and which ones were a little unsure about it. Eventually they all got into it, and had a great time. I think my assistant and I had just as much, if not more, fun playing with it as well! You can find the recipe here.

This week we made indoor snow with corn starch and shaving cream.  It made a huge mess, but the kids had a great time pretending to make it snow and making 3D snowmen. I liked the smooth texture that it had. Little did we know it was going to snow for real the next day! You find the recipe here.

Hope you enjoying these fun indoor winter activities. As always I love your feedback and comments!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pinterest Project: Clean Makeup Brushes

I don't wear makeup everyday, but I use it often enough that I should clean my brushes more than I do considering they touch my face. I've been on the look out for a quick easy way to clean my makeup brushes, and I think I've found it! Thanks to a friend who pinned this link on Pinterest. :)

I decided to try it right after I read it. And guess what? It TOTALLY works! My makeup brushes are now clean and drying as I write this post.

Of course I took a few pics to show y'all.

The ingredients: 1 cup warm water, 1 Tbls white vinegar, 1 Tbls liquid dish soap

This is what it looked like after I swirled my brushes around in it. GROSS! This picture doesn't do it looked like weak chai.

 Rinsed with warm water, reshaped, and drying on a folded towel!

Now that I know a quick, easy way to clean my makeup brushes I'll hopefully do this more often. Let me know if you try it, or of you have another quick way to clean makeup brushes.

Update: I thought that the brushes might smell like vinegar the next time I used them, but I can now report that they're scent free! (I told you I don't wear makeup often so it was almost a week after I washed them.)