Instead, here are some things that have made me laugh this week. Enjoy!
Need a new trashcan?
Isn't this a hoot? It's a t-shirt that Maddie's fabulous math teacher will be wearing today. And he truly is adorkable. :)
Need a new trashcan?
There are days when you wake up just knowing that the day is going to be a challenge. I knew from early yesterday morning that it was going to be one of "those kind" of days. You know, the kind of day when you wish you could just go home, crawl in bed, cover your head, and sleep till the next day. It was definitely one of those kind of days.
It started when I realized upon turning into the parking lot at school at about 7:15am that I had left my lanyard with my keys and my ID badge in the purse I had used on Friday. The one sitting on my desk- at HOME. This meant returning home, getting the lanyard, and then returning to school amidst the large amount of traffic that amasses after 7:15 each morning and being several minutes late to duty. (We usually leave home around 7am not because I'm so anal about being early (okay, maybe partially because I am so anal :) but because the traffic after that time it's twice as bad and it takes twice as long to drive the short drive to school after battling the traffic.). I was so frustrated while sitting there that sweet Maddie said....."Mom, there is nothing you can do about the traffic so just put it in the freezer and CHILL".
The day at work was full of moving my classroom, computer problems, and making trips to picnics and Gattitown to pick up and deliver kids who could not make the walk there.
I hurried home after dropping Maddie at dance knowing that I had much baking to do and quickly got to work. Barely in to my first batch of cookies, as I opened a new box of waxed paper, I sliced the front of my thumb open on the cutter inside the box. It would not stop bleeding and took lots of pressure and tissue. Finally I got the bleeding stopped, wrapped it up and continued with my baking .
Next as I was taking a pan of cookies out of the oven, somehow the edge of the pan accidentally hit the inside upper portion of my left arm- leaving a lovely and painful burn that quickly turned into a blistered burn.
Then as I was taking the last pan of the first batch of cookies out of the oven, my oven timer started beeping uncontrollably and flashing an F1 error. After I turned the oven off. No matter what I did, it continued to beep. As the oven continued to beep uncontrollably on my last nerve I called Honey and said "The oven is beeping and won't shut up!". Finally after turning the stove and oven off for about 5 minutes, the beeping mercifully stopped.
After searching the internet we now know that sadly the oven is about to die and will need to be replaced. With all of the cooking I do, normally a new oven would be cause for me to celebrate. But, coming directly on the past few months which have included a new hot water heater as ours went out, my step daughter coming to live with us which resulted in ridiculously HIGH insurance costs and cell phone bills plus many other expenses, the first of THREE crowns I must have this year (of which of insurance will only cover HALF of the first two), an unexpected last minute plane ticket for my step daughter from LA to Tenn. this past weekend, plus many other unexpected and unplanned for expenses, made me want to WEEP. Loudly and for a very long time.
My poor sweet Daddy made the terrible mistake of calling in the midst of me realizing that we needed a new oven and bless his heart he got an earful. I think part of my problem was that the past few weeks and months have been hard. Painful, difficult, and emotional. They have been full of stress, disappointment, worry, LOTS of prayer, and concern. It seemed like yesterday was the straw that broke this camels back and I was truly overwhelmed.
Sleep did not come easily last night as my arm throbbed and my heart was heavy with worry and stress. I tossed and turned much of the night and I woke up super early realizing that God was telling me to get my hiney out of bed and talk to Him.
And so I did.
I spent the wee hours of this morning in prayer and reading and was reminded of some very important facts that I know in my heart to be true but so, so, so needed to be reminded of.
God reminded me that............
The problems of yesterday are normal and are what we are told to expect in this life (John 16:33). My problems are minor and insignificant in comparison with so, so, so many. I have so very much to be thankful for. I am so very, very, very blessed. The problems of my yesterday are best left there- in YESTERDAY.
It's easy to praise God when things are going well. It is easy to praise Him when everyone is healthy and fabulous and there is money in the bank and everything is working perfectly. It's easy to praise Him when things are good and easy.
The true test is IF we will praise Him in the dark, in the trials, in the struggles we face. If we will praise Him in the storms. If we will praise Him when our bank accounts are empty and our pile of problems looks insurmountable. If we will praise Him when things break and people disappoint and hurt us. If we will praise Him when it seems like all is lost and the future is bleak. If we will praise Him when things are messy, and ugly, and angry, and sad. If we will simply praise Him, regardless of our situation, circumstance, or even our feelings. If we will simply praise Him.
And so today I thank God who loves me so very much that he woke me up (literally) this morning.
And I choose to praise Him.
This cake is similar to a glazed cake donut. It is similar to a pound cake, very butter but super yummy!
18 ounces Duncan Hines butter cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding, small box
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
4 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter (Melted)
1 t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bunt pan with cooking spray & lightly flour pan. Mix all the cake ingredients (cake mix, pudding, water, butter, vanilla extract, and eggs) and beat for about 4 minutes. Pour cake batter into pan and bake cake per time on box approximately 33-43 minutes . After removing the cake from the oven, poke holes in the bottom of the cake all over using a fork or ice pick. Let cool about 1/2 hour. Mix all sugar glaze ingredients together (sugar, water, butter, vanilla extract). Pour sugar mixture all over the bottom and down sides of cake. Leave about 1/2 the sugar mixture in the bowl for the top of cake after flipping.Cover with paper towel. Let cake cool about and hour and then flip cake onto cake plate. Pour the remaining sugar mixture on top of the cake. Use a spatula to make sure top and sides are covered with the glaze. Let sit for another hour to set up and serve.
I love how God sends just the perfect words, just the perfect book, just the perfect friend, just the perfect story- exactly at the precise moment when we need it the most.
This story is absolutely amazing and is a wonderful reminder that He makes ALL THINGS beautiful. He loves us in spite of all of our imperfections and creates amazing and beautiful things through the broken pieces of our lives. God can mend anything and everything. Please go read it- you will be blessed.
When I saw this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, The Picky Palate, I knew I simply had to make it. There are very few people in my life who do not absolutely LOVE Reece's Peanut Butter Cups which made this cake an absolute necessity for me to try out. Don’t let the recipe list fool you, it’s got lots of ingredients and steps, but is not difficult at all!
4 T unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
8 oz softened cream cheese
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 packages Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup heavy cream
2 T unsalted butter
Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9 inch round pans. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together brown sugar, peanut butter and butter for two minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and mix for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and mix for another minute. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated about 20 seconds. Then add the sour cream, mixing again for 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining flour mixture. Add the hot water in a slow, steady stream and mix on low to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and mix for another 10 seconds. Add the peanut butter and chips and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Divide the cake batter into the prepared pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Filling: Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peanut butter into a medium bowl. Stir until smooth. Once cakes are cooled, spread cream cheese over bottom of one of the cakes. Top with 2nd cake.
Ganache: Place chocolate chips into a medium mixing bowl. Place cream and butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat cream and butter until just boiling. Remove and pour over chocolate chips. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then stir until smooth.
To Assemble: Place layered cake on a wire rack. Place rack on top of a cookie sheet so that the extra chocolate has a place to drip onto. Pour chocolate ganache over cake and using a narrow metal spatula, quickly pared it evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with chopped peanut butter cups in center of cake.
Now I know some will find this hard to believe, but although I have been to Starbucks with friends, I've never had any coffee there and never eaten anything there. I have however heard many, many friends rave about their baked goods. So, when I came across this copycat recipe for their coffee cake, I knew I had to try it. It's amazingly easy and smells absolutely delicious!
1 box Yellow Cake Mix (plus ingredients on back of box)
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 T cinnamon
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 T powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake mix in large bowl according to directions on box. Spray 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until center is just barely set. While cake is baking, prepare crumb topping. In large bowl of electric mixer combine, butter, flour, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla until all crumbly. Immediately after cake is removed from oven, break crumb topping into marble size pieces with fingers, sprinkling over top. Put back in oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes when topping will begin to look a little less wet. Let cool fully then dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares and serve.
When I dreamed of becoming a teacher never in my wildest dreams did I ever think of what that would truly and honestly entail. My young naive mind was full of fabulous lesson plans and fun bulletin boards and hugs from sweet young students and not the reality of what it would truly be like.
When I began teaching, never did I realize how much things would change over those 16 years and how often and how fervently I would pray- for my students, for their families, and for my fellow teachers.
Never did I dream that it would be necessary for me to think through what would happen if an armed intruder were to break into my classroom and have to consider where the safest place to arrange my students was so that if someone were to shoot a gun from the doorway or the window they would be protected.
Never did I dream that I would have to sit a room full of 10 year-olds down and explain why we had to practice for an intruder drill and what they should do if someone with a gun showed up on our campus.
Never did I dream that I would have to think about what I would do if one of my students was out in the hallway when I locked the classroom door and what I would do if they came and banged on the door- even if I had been told not to open the door (for fear that an intruder had them at gunpoint and would enter the room when the door was unlocked).
Never did I dream that as my students brought up "What if?" question after "What if?" question- that I would have to do some pretty fancy talking to keep from saying the whole truth which is that no matter what we do and how prepared we are- if someone is crazy enough and persistent enough- they can and will get into our schools and hurt people which is why they need JESUS in their lives- because He is the ONLY one who can save any of us.
Never did I dream that I would open the newspaper to find a former 5th grade student's mug shot and a story with details about his arrest and that it would break my heart and make me question if I had done all I could to help him.
Never did I dream that I would have something stolen (my digital camera- off my desk- yesterday) from my classroom and face the awful and terrible decision of deciding if I should file charges on that 14 year old student or not.
Never did I dream that I would wonder if maybe I should have chosen a different profession.
Never did I think that being a teacher would be so scary.
Never did I think that I would sit awake at night, unable to sleep, due to worry over all of these things (note the time of this post).
Never did I dream that teaching would break my heart.
But I was wrong.
Oh so very, very, very wrong.
1 box Brownie Mix (9x13 size)
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 T creamy peanut butter
10 peanut butter Oreo cookies, broken into pieces (I used the Kroger brand b/c they were cheaper)
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
3 T creamy peanut butter
3 T half and half (I was out of half and half and simply left this ingredient out and the ganache came out just fine)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions (or use your favorite homemade brownie recipe) and place into a 9 x 13 inch pan lined with foil that has been sprayed with Pam. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and 2 T peanut butter until smooth. Stir in cookie pieces until combined. Using a spoon, spoon cookies and cream mixture evenly over brownie mix. Using a knife, gently swirl cookies and cream into brownies without scraping the bottom of the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center. Cool completely. Place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 1 minute. Stir in remaining peanut butter and stir chocolate chips until smooth. Place back in the microwave for 15-30 more seconds if not smooth. Stir in half and half until glossy smooth, then spread over cooled brownies. Cut into squares and serve.
TIP OF THE DAY: If you are not a peanut butter fan, you can simply use regular Oreo cookies and omit the peanut butter to make Cookies and Cream Brownies.
Edited to ADD: Here are just two comments from my sweet co-workers about these brownies: "These are the BEST brownies I have EVER eaten!", "Those brownies deserve a high 5 they are so good!". And a tip for anyone who lives here in CS and shops at Kroger- I found the PB Oreo's at Kroger on RP on a manager special for only $1.09!
You are a cute little dog but I think it's time we had a little chat. It's time for you to face reality. You are no longer a puppy. It's sad but we all get older and you my dear, are past using your age as an excuse to do things you know you are NOT allowed to do. That cute little cocked head and sweet face is simply NO longer enough to get you out of trouble. If you haven't noticed, that crazy red headed Momma lady has not been very happy with you lately. If you don't clean up your act pretty soon, I have a feeling you are going to find yourself living in the backyard. You may not remember much about last summer since you were so little- but let me tell you- it STINKS. Bad. In case you didn't know- we live in Texas where it gets about 2 million degrees outside and you will be so stinkin miserable you will want to die. It's hot 100% of the time. Horribly hot. Trust me when I say it's awful and you want to do anything you can to keep it from happening.
So, even though you irritate the heck out of me some of the time and I often wish you would go back where you came from, I thought maybe I could give you a few suggestions that I know will help that red headed Momma to like you a little better and maybe keep you inside where it's nice and cool.
So let's review a few rules:
1. Do NOT potty on the floor, potty OUTSIDE in the grass. She is so tired of using that big monster carpet cleaning machine that makes lots of noise (you know that one that you hate and bark at the entire time she is using it?). For some reason she uses it just about every weekend since you arrived and she is not happy about it. I hear her mumbling under her breath. The machine is so loud I can't hear everything she says but I have picked up the words HATE, POTTY, Belle, STINKIN, MY BACK, and GONNA LIVE OUTSIDE FOREVER so I'm thinking you might want to stop that. When they open that door and send us outside, it's not to play, it's to pee.
2. If there is an emergency and you have to potty inside, do NOT- I repeat do NOT potty on a bed. Anywhere but there. The last time you did and red headed Momma had to take the big poofy blanket off the bed and out to car, I heard her say something about taking the cost to dry clean it out of your hide. I don't know what that means, but I know it isn't good. At all.
3. Do NOT poop on the floor, poop outside. I repeat, do NOT poop on the floor. This makes red headed Momma really, really, really angry. It's even worse than peeing inside. When you do this her face turns really red and it's not very pretty. She mumbles and grumbles while cleaning it up. If the poop is mushy- you had better run and hide good (under the guest room bed is a good place). Pooping is to be done outside just like peeing.
4. If you DO accidentally poop, do NOT, I repeat do NOT run through it when we are playing chase in the house. We end up tracking poop all over the house and that is NOT a good thing. I don't know exactly what she said, but when it happened the other day, red headed Momma was sighing loudly and mumbling something about sending you to someplace called the pound. So, if you MUST poop inside, poop off to the side- not in the middle of the living room floor. K?
5. Stop chewing on shoes and the piano legs. We have bones to chew on. They are really yummy and we have a million. Leave the shoes and piano alone.
6. When you are in the laundry room during the day, do not scratch on the wall. All that flaky white stuff on the floor makes red headed Momma upset big time. She likes her house just so and you are throwing big monkey wrenches in that plan. Stop it.
7. Do NOT jump on the big table in the kitchen. Dogs aren't supposed to be on tables, don't you know that? I know there is food up there but if you jump on the table and try to steal it- you will get a spanking. Trust me, I know. All you have to do is go stand by the table on your hind legs and look really cute- and they will give you a snack. It works for me every time.
8. We are supposed to SLEEP all night long, not BARK at the new neighbors dogs all night long. That red headed lady and that big tall guy get really grumpy when you keep waking them up so STOP it. Bark during the day when everyone is gone and can't hear you. That's what I do.
Well, that's all for now. I really hope you'll think about following some of my suggestions. If you don't- don't worry, I'll come visit you a couple times a day where you will be melting in the backyard this summer.
Holly the Dog
P.S. Stop digging in the trash cans while everyone is home. Wait till they leave, then go through them. That's what I do and it works GREAT!
1 box any flavor cake mix (cooked as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 (16 ounce) can cream cheese frosting
1 package almond bark (regular or white chocolate)
Bake cake according to directions on box. Cool completely (I put mine in the freezer to speed this step up) and crumble cake into large bowl. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. You can use a spoon to mix it up but I've found it's easier to just use my hands- but be prepared because it is VERY messy. Use a small cookie scoop and roll into quarter size balls and lay on wax paper covered cookie sheets. Chill for several hours or freeze for about 30 minutes. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. I drop it in the chocolate and then use a fork to get rid of the extra chocolate. When using white chocolate almond bark it might be necessary to double dip the balls or decorate with sprinkles to cover up any imperfections.
Seems like a lot of time, doesn't it? But if you only had 6 months to live, 6 months would seem like no time at all, wouldn't it?
I was recently asked to watch the pilot of a TV show and then answer some questions regarding it. I was excited when the CD arrived in the mail and quickly opened it and sat down to watch the show. I was not however, prepared for what I saw. The show is called "Six Months" and it chronicles the life of two terminally ill people who are facing the last six months of their lives.
This is truly a reality show like no other. It gives an intimate look at what people facing the end of their lives go through. It shows the steps people take to make sure that those in their life are reminded how much they are loved once they are gone. As I sat and watched the story of two brave people- Eric who has a wife and precious three year old daughter, and Janice who has a loving husband and two young adult sons-my heart just broke for them. I cried as I watched them try to accept that their time on earth was coming to an end and that they would be leaving those they loved behind. Tears rolled down my face as I watched them try to find ways to leave tangible reminders for their loved ones.
Watching their stories took me immediately back to those last few months of my mothers life and reminded me of how she did the very same thing.
During those last few months, we cheered her on to keep fighting the cancer- constantly telling her that we knew she would be well soon. During that time my sister tried to encourage my mother to take care of things like making out a will and taking care of business decisions. My mother resisted, saying that she would do those things when she felt better. Sadly, that time never came.
After her death my sister was looking through all of my mothers papers. She did not find a will but what she did find was truly priceless. Although my mother had not had a will drawn up, she took the time to make sure that one of the most important people in her life,my daughter Madison, would always know how much her Nana loved her.
In her things we found a book. On the front of the book was a note from my mother that said simply For Madison. The title of the book was Nana, Will you Write Me from Heaven?
Looking back, I think that the only thing that kept my mother alive those past few months,was a desire to spend more time with Madison. who was her only grandchild.
During those last few months of my mothers life, she was rarely alone- as she was violently ill from chemo and couldn't even drive. How she found time to purchase this book or where it came from, we will probably never know. But what it showed me is that we will find a way to do those things that are truly important to us. So somehow my mother found a way to show Madison that she loved her more than anything by leaving something behind for her.
The book is a precious story about a grandmother and her granddaughter having a talk about the fact that one day the grandmother will die. The little girl in the story asks if her grandmother will write to her from heaven and the grandmother explains that she will- through the birds chirping in the trees, the sunrise in the morning, and the starts twinkling at night.
The story is precious but the words written by my mother are the true treasure in the book. The day that we found the book, I picked it up and tried to read the note written to Madison on the first page. I couldn't see the words due to my tears.
I've only read it a few times in the past almost six years, because it is still so hard. As I took the book out a few minutes ago and turned to the first page, I realized that my tears stain that page. I've never been able to read it without crying- including today.
Reading the words my mother wrote I can almost hear her saying them aloud. I can only imagine how difficult they were to write.
I wish that I had the words to tell you of the joy and happiness you brought into my life. I never knew true joy until you were born. Being able to see the world through your beautiful eyes has been my greatest blessing. You have enriched my life beyond belief. As long as you remember me, in your heart, I will always be with you. You won't be able to see me but I will be watching you from Heaven. I will be part of all you do and all you are. Don't be sad- just remember the fun we had and the love we shared. That will always remain. You will always be "Nana's darling".
I love you,
My sweet mother, like those two people in the TV pilot I watched, spent her last six months not thinking of herself and her pain,but thinking of something to do to remind those around her how much they were loved.
I only pray that when my time on earth is through, that I will be as selfless and loving.
For more stories about some fabulous mothers, please go visit my sweet friend Dory who is posting stories about mothers all month long.
Welcome to my new and improved blog! What do you think of it's makeover? I think Michele did an amazing job and I absolutely love it! I'm still working on tweaking my new look, adding new sections, and cleaning up this little blog (way too many recipe categories) but will hopefully be done by tomorrow. Please come back then to read a post about my sweet mother.