Saturday, August 30, 2008

Peanut Butter Fudgy Bars

This is another easy school treat I made this week. These are another bar with a great combination of peanut butter and chocolate that only use a few simple ingredients.


1 butter recipe cake mix
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup water
1 egg
1 can chocolate fudge frosting
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 chopped peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine cake mix, 1 cup peanut butter, water and egg on low speed. Mix 2 minutes on medium speed. Mixture will be sticky. Wet your hands and use them to spread dough into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and light golden brown. Cool completely. In small bowl, blend frosting with 1/2 peanut butter and spread over cooled bars. Top with chopped peanuts.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

True Confession Friday

This is my closet this morning.
How pitiful and messy is that?



I ate cake for dinner last night.
Granted it was Weight Watchers Celebration Cake, but it was CAKE.
Cake for dinner.
Shameful.
(Just so you know, I did feed my family a normal, non-cake meal)



I've only been to the gym twice this week.
Only twice and my 20th high school reunion is in a month and a half.
Great.



I bought some M&M's to use in a recipe.
The other night- in a stress induced haze- I opened the bag and began to eat them.
And eat them.
And eat them.
And eat them.
The sad thing is................I really don't even like M&M's.
So finally I knew that if I didn't do something drastic, I was going to eat the whole stinkin bag. So I took the bag to Honey and said..........
"I don't care what you do with these, but do something with them so that I will stop eating them."
And bless his sweet heart, he just took them, smiled and said
"Sure Honey".



I have not been doing a good job this week keeping up with sweeping my beautiful new floors. As a result, there is enough dog hair under the couch and in the corners of my living room to make a small dog.
Maybe even a medium sized dog.
And because I can't stand to see all that yucky hair, in the evenings I have only been turning on one lamp in the living room and I try not to look down so I can pretend it isn't there.


I am so thankful that.....................

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23




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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Inspiration

The first week of school is a combination of excitement, fun, exhaustion, hard work, lots of changes, being flexible, and having tired feet. Around Thursday of the week all teachers seem to hit a wall. We're tired, we're a tad cranky (some more than a tad), we are overwhelmed, we have mountains of work to do, and we are ready for the weekend. We've eaten way too much chocolate and had way too many Sonic drinks.


Today is Thursday so today was that day.

I say WAS that day because early this morning a sweet friend sent me a video.

And let me tell you, it was exactly what I needed to see and hear.

Exactly.


It's a video of a precious young man who gave the keynote speech for the Dallas ISD staff at the beginning of their staff development day this year. He is wise beyond his years and his message was truly powerful and one we all need to hear.

Please take a few minutes and watch it HERE.

I hope it blesses and inspires you as it did me.


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Snicker Brownies

I made these on Sunday as treats for the staff at my school on the first day. So many people wanted the recipe that I'm posting it here, but it's so easy that I am truly embarrassed to even call it a recipe. When I say it's easy, I mean EASY.


1 family size box brownie mix with frosting (I used the Betty Crocker Supreme Frosted Brownie mix)

10 small Snickers (not mini) candy bars, sliced into thin slices

1 can vanilla frosting

10 small Snicker (not mini) candy bars, diced


Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Prepare brownie mix as directed on box. Spread half of brownie batter in pan to cover bottom. Carefully place sliced snickers on top of brownie batter- one at a time- so the entire pan of dough is covered. Carefully spread remaining brownie batter on top of Snicker layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until done. Cool completely. In large bowl, mix brownie frosting, vanilla frosting, and diced Snicker bars till well blended. Spread over cool brownies.


Of course in this recipe you can use any other type of candy bar that you like or that is on sale. And I'll be honest, when I was throwing this recipe together, I only intended to use the frosting that came with the brownies- but once I added the Snicker pieces, it was way too thick to spread. So I added a can of white frosting- because that is what I had on hand. I would have grabbed chocolate, had I had some in the pantry. But I honestly think it was better not using all chocolate because it made the frosting yummy and lighter with only a hint of chocolate.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blessing S

I am truly blessed to work at a school that is full of precious and loving people. Many teachers I know say that their school is a family and in our case- it is honestly the truth. We celebrate together and have such a good time laughing and playing. We really enjoy each other and have so much fun. When someone in our little family is sick, hurting, or going through a difficult time, our staff rallies around them like you cannot imagine. Depending on the need, we collect money, cook meals, send flowers, plan parties, and generally take care of each other in any and all ways. There are usually more people offering to help than help is needed. It's such a joy to be a part of such an amazing, loving, caring group of people.

Today we set about to bless one of our family members who has gone on to join a new family.

Our precious friend S- who left this year to teach at the school her sons attend- recently was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Although S has gone on to a new job at a new school this year, she is still a huge part of the OW family and always will be.

She leaves this morning to go to M.D.Anderson where she will be having surgery sometime tomorrow. We wanted to do something to let her know (aside from the normal flowers, visits, and meals we will be providing her with) how much we love her and are praying for her. We wanted her to see with her eyes the love we each hold in our hearts for her.

So I handed out heart cutouts and asked people to write prayers and notes of encouragement to S on them. I collected the hearts and put them on those little plastic card picks that are placed in flower arrangements.

Very EARLY this morning Maddie (S was her teacher two years ago and Maddie loves her too) and I drove over to her house to place the hearts in her yard so that when she walked out to leave for the hospital she would SEE a tangible reminder of the love for her and the prayers going to God on her behalf.

Well, we actually ended up going to her house twice- because the first time we arrived- at 4:52am and dressed all in black, the sprinklers in her yard were on. So after pondering what to do we went home, got ready for school, and then drove back to her house at 5:55am to place the hearts in her yard. Because the yard was so wet, instead of putting them all over the yard, we ended up lining the sidewalk up to her front door with the hearts.

As Maddie and I placed the hearts in S's yard (and prayed not to be attacked by a dog or the skunk we all of a sudden smelled or discovered by S ) we prayed for S, her family, and her doctors. My prayer is that God would hold her in the palm of His hand today and in the days to come and that she feel His love like never before.

So if you would, please join me in blessing S and say a prayer for my sweet friend today.

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P.S. Here are some fun pics of Maddie as we drove to S's house the first time this morning. That girl cracks me up! She jumped right out of bed when I woke her up this morning- excited and thrilled to put on her "disguise". The part that made me laugh the hardest was the bandanna combined with the polka dotted ribbon in her hair. A burglar with a bow in her hair? Bless her heart...... by the time we went home, got ready, drove back to S's house, then to Sonic and to school- she was sleepy again. She laid down on a table in my classroom and promptly went to sleep.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School Traditions

I'm a girl that loves, loves, loves traditions. I think it's because my mother was HUGE tradition girl and instilled that love in me.

We have a few normal back to school traditions and this year we started a few new ones.

The one that I love the most and that Maddie can NOT stand is the one that we started back when she was in Kindergarten. Each year I take her picture holding a sign that says "Madison's First Day of ______" along with the date.

Sometimes we take it at home, sometimes at school but we ALWAYS take it. And Maddie fusses every year. And every year I remind her that we will do it every year until she graduates and that if she fusses too much I'll come to college and take her picture in front of her dorm. I can't wait till the day when she has her own kids and is carrying on this tradition and I get to watch them gripe about it like she did! :)

Here are her pictures from the last two years. It's amazing to see how much she has changed and grown!



These are her pictures from today.
How did my baby get into the 7th grade?

She loves to remind me......."Only 2 more years to high school Mom."

That makes me want to cry.

Big tears.

Big, big, big tears.



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P.S. Yes, that is her bag/backpack. Isn't it huge? For school this year, instead of a backpack, she really wanted to get a bag from Abercrombie and Fitch. After looking at them online and finding that they were $80, I told her that I would pay what I normally did for a backpack and she would have to pay for the rest. She had a gift card left from Christmas and so we found it on sale, used her gift card, and I only had to pay $15 which is WAY less than I normally pay for a backpack. Woo hoo! The bag is HUGE and should carry all of her books this year. I'm just praying she doesn't end up with a hump on her back from carrying it on one shoulder!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Prayer for the First Day of School


Lord, let me be just what they need.

If they need someone to trust, let me be trustworthy.

If they need sympathy, let me sympathize.

If they need love, (and they do need love), let me love, in full measure.

Let me not anger easily, Lord but let me be just.

Permit my justice to be tempered in your mercy.

When I stand before them, Lord, let me look strong and good and honest and loving.

And let me be as strong and good and honest and loving as I look to them.

Help me to counsel the anxious, crack the covering of the shy, temper the
rambunctious with a gentle attitude.

Permit me to teach only the truth.

Help me to inspire them so that learning will not cease at the classroom door.

Let the lessons they learn make their lives fruitful and happy.

And, Lord, let me bring them to You.

Teach them through me to love You.

Finally, permit me to learn the lessons they teach.

Anonymous

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Friday, August 22, 2008

The Week in Pictures

The Good:

The sky after the storm on Wed. as we drove home from Victoria.
It was beautiful and absolutely breathtaking!


A new SmartBoard for my classroom! I am so excited I can barely stand it!



The Bad:

This is the money a friend handed me as I walked down the hall yesterday at school.
I stuck it in my pocket and completely forgot about it until I later went to the restroom.
As I stood up and turned around to flush, I saw it.
In the potty.
Bad.
Very bad.
And wet.
Very wet.




The Ugly:This is the trashcan by my desk in my classroom.
The candy that was in those wrappers?
It was my lunch.
Along with a Diet Coke.
Healthy huh?
This would be the reason that I never buy candy.
Because if it's there- I will eat it.
Ugly.
Very ugly.
And so will my big old hiney be if I keep eating candy for lunch.




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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Links I Love

This Is Sand-

This site is so simple and so neat! It's basically a place where you can make a sand drawing. When you arrive at the site, you simply click on the gray square at the left- which opens a window with directions. You can change your color and create some beautiful pictures which is then posted to a gallery. My attempt was so simple, I'm not posting it here (because you would probably laugh) but here's a link to the gallery where there are some amazing pictures!


It's Lovely! I'll Take It!-

This site is a hysterical collection of poorly chosen photos from real estate listings. And when I say poorly, I mean POORLY! Some of them are so funny, and some of them are super scary but ALL of them make you wonder............what the heck was the real estate agent thinking?



I Am Neurotic-

My sweet sister sent me this link and it is hysterical! It's the perfect place to go on the days when you feel like your quirks and idiosyncrasies are a bit over the top. It's a place where people post their neurotic habits and it is a HOOT! And it will make you feel like your weirdness is NOTHING in comparison to other people!



FAIL-

This is one of the funniest sites EVER! It's a collection of pictures that show things that didn't quite work. It's a site I visit often on those days when I am not in the happiest of moods- and it always brings a smile to my face. Here are a few that cracked me up:


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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do you think it might rain here tonight?


If you can't read the highlighted text (click on the pic to enlarge it) from our local TV channel website- it says...............


Mostly cloudy with a 230% chance of rain.


Guess it's going to rain huh?



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Monday, August 18, 2008

They are dorks.......but they are MY dorks

Honey ran to the grocery store the other night after dinner to get some dog food (because I'm in charge of people food and he's in charge of animal food and he had forgotten they were out). He came home with the dog food and a few other things which normally happens when he runs to the store. For some ODD reason random things always find their way into his cart. And they usually involve chocolate of some sort. How weird is that?


I was in the other room and heard him putting some things away in the kitchen but didn't go to see what he had purchased.

About an hour later he walks in holding a bottle of something, shakes it and says............

Um, you know that Magic Shell stuff that you put on ice cream?

I'm guessing it was NOT supposed to be put into the refrigerator like chocolate syrup huh?


Bless his sweet heart. He had bought some Magic Shell and had put it in the fridge when he came home.

Of course by the time he took it out to put some on his ice cream, it was as solid as a rock.

In case you ever put your Magic Shell in the refrigerator..............after being left out on the counter for a few hours- it'll soften right up.

He's a dork..............but he's MY dork.

And I love him.



Maddie and my dad took a trip to Arkansas to visit some relatives this past week. They called on Monday night to say they were on the way home- but would stop if they got too tired. So around 9:30pm the phone rang and Honey talked briefly- said goodnight and I love you and hung up. He said they were stopping and would be home the following morning.

I asked where they had stopped and he said...........

Madisonville.


I said..........

Are you kidding me?


Madisonville is less than an hour a way from our house. They were almost home!

Every time they mention Madisonville on the news Madison says............

It's MY VILLE!


and I crack up.

So I knew what had happened............she had sweet talked (ie conned) my dad into stopping in HER VILLE.

When the phone rang at 6:30 the next morning I was shocked to find Madison on the other end of the phone. She said they were on the way home because she didn't like that hotel in HER VILLE. They had stopped at the only one they had seen because my dad was tired. She said it was a little hotel- not even a chain- and that it was a little scary.

She said she didn't like the way it looked so she had Peedaw (my dad)

......bring in his G-U-N (not to worry.......he has a concealed handgun permit)

I cracked up and said..............

Why did you spell out the word gun? It's not like we are trying to hide it from someone.

She said..........

Well, guns scare me so that word scares me so I like to spell it out instead of saying it.


That girl is a dork............but she's MY dork.

And I love her.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign............

Sign #1

Remember my little Thou Shalt Not Whine sign that I mentioned here recently? The one that Maddie does NOT like and kept turning around and covering with paper?

Well here's where I found the sign when I got home yesterday:

It was in the middle of a basket full of blankets that sits right next to the entertainment center where the sign is supposed to live.

That girl CRACKS me up!


Sign #2

This is a sign I saw driving through town Tuesday that made me laugh so hard that I had to turn around to take a picture of it:

BOKAY?
Seriously?
How funny is that?


Sign #3
This is a sign I saw in front of a tiny little hotel when I was in Victoria a few weeks ago. The funniest thing was that business was spelled the same incorrect way - ON BOTH SIDES of the sign.
Too stinkin' funny!


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Waiting

To say I was excited about going to meet Lisa on Sunday is a huge understatement. I had been anxiously waiting Sunday all week long and was so excited all day! As I got ready to go......I could not WAIT!

The event was a large one with more than 500 ladies in attendance. As the evening ended I began to search for Lisa. I didn't see her but Betty and I got in line at her book table (I had one of her books but wanted the other and wanted her to sign both of them for me).

Now I religiously read Lisa's blog and comment often on her blog posts. I was thrilled to know she was coming to Houston and had even emailed her to find out details. Much to my joy she had even visited my blog a few times and I knew she had read that I was planning to attend last night.

But as I stood in line waiting to get her to sign my books, I began to think in my head..........

Okay, so this is THE Lisa Whittle- author and speaker. I am certain that she hears from tons of women every day and is not going to remember who the heck I am or that I was even planning to come here tonight. So.......instead of looking like a big old dork by saying something like........Hey it's me Shannon. I read your blog, remember me?........ I will just get her to sign my books and be thankful that I got to meet her and hear her speak.

So as we walked up to the table I was telling the lady selling the books that I only needed the one book because I already had a copy of Behind Those Eyes and Lisa was finishing signing a book
for the lady ahead of me. As I spoke to the book lady, Lisa looked up at me, stopped and said.........You aren't Shannon are you?

I was so pleasantly shocked I immediately said Yes! . She quickly handed the signed book off and excitedly ran around the table to hug my neck. She yelled to her husband who was nearby "Look, it's Shannon!" and asked him to get the camera so he could take our picture.



I was so blessed to get to chat with her for a few minutes and to thank her for her message and for her writing. I was truly tickled pink that she was looking for me and that she knew me. I know it's silly but I was so excited and absolutely shocked thinking that someone famous in my eyes was as excited to get to meet me as I was to get to meet her.



As I've thought back about the events of Sunday night, I am struck by how often I feel the same way that I felt about meeting Lisa (not wanting to be a bother and thinking she had more important things to do than meet me) with God. How many times do I think (urged on by Satan of course)...........

Oh, this need or want or problem of mine is so silly and in the scheme of things I am so insignificant to Him that I'm not going to bother taking it to God. He has better things to do, more important matters to tend to, and doesn't need me bothering Him.


And instead of going to meet and share my burdens and fears with Him, I keep it all to myself and try unsuccessfully to fix it- by myself. Alone.

And how often is God there waiting for me to come to Him, as excited to meet me as I am to meet Him- and yet I fail to show up? I can't tell you how it grieves me to think of all of the times I have missed out because I didn't reach out to the one who loves me more than I could ever imagine.

And so I pray this morning that God will continually remind me and you that He is waiting for us.

Always.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18


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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All together they cost...........................

$8.69

Can you believe that?

The votives and pillows were
90 % OFF.

Each pillow was regularly $16.99 and I paid $1.69 each.
Each votive was regularly $1.49 and I paid $0.15 each.

Crazy isn't it?
I sure do love, love, love a bargain!

How could I NOT take them all home with me for that price?


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Monday, August 11, 2008

Come on......Guess


While at Michael's today shopping for a single piece of scrapbook paper
I found this cute pillow

and this cute pillow

and four of these cute votives along with four black candles to go inside them

and a plain wooden picture frame and a plain wooden sign (to use for future projects) that decided they needed to come home with me.


Guess what the total for all 12 things was?

Come on..........guess.

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Getting REAL

I've mentioned several times (here and here) that I love, love, love the blog and writing of the precious and talented writer Lisa Whittle.

Yesterday afternoon my sweet friends Betty and Sue and I traveled to Houston to Champion Forest Baptist Church for a ladies night out where Lisa was the speaker. We had a fabulous time of eating, laughing, and the absolute blessing of hearing Lisa speak.

She was as wonderful as I had imagined and it was such a joy to get to hear her in person and to put a voice to her words!

She spoke a message based on her book Behind Those Eyes (which is fabulous and absolutely needs to go on your must reads list- go buy it here NOW!) and on Psalms 51:6 that says:


What you are after is truth from the inside out.

God's message through Lisa was something I truly needed to hear. It was a message about how we, as women, so often pretend to be someone who we are not. How we try to cover up our imperfections and weaknesses with all sorts of things like beautifully decorated houses and immaculately groomed clothes and impersonate the women we want to be rather than the women we really are. She spoke about why we pretend to be someone we are not- which often is because we decide the truth isn't good enough to tell some people because we fear that we won't measure up in their eyes. How often do I do that? WAY more often than I would like to admit.

She shared how we need to learn to clean out our hearts- including the corners of our hearts that we try to keep secret from God and everyone else and to be the women He created us to be. It was such a much needed reminder to me that God wants me to be real and that pretending was never in His plan for my life- no matter how comfortable I've become doing it. It was a reminder to me that God can and will use me in amazing ways- only when I come clean with myself, with others, and most importantly with Him.

This is the prayer Lisa writes at the end of Chapter 1 in Behind Those Eyes which I am praying (for you and for me) this morning:

Oh, Jesus. Help us to get real.
Help us to see that pretending was not in Your original plan for our lives.
Convince us by your Holy Spirit that authenticity and
genuineness are important enough to come out of hiding .
Clean out the corners of our hearts that we
try to keep secret from You and everyone else.

In Jesus' name.
Amen.


And in the spirit of getting real, I've decided that I'm going to start occasionally sharing pictures and stories to show you that things aren't always what they seem in my life. So later this week, be ready for some realness. Be warned, it may not be pretty! (And would you please hold me accountable? If you don't see posts about being real......ask me about it, okay?)

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PS If you left a comment on this post, I am so sorry it's gone. For some crazy reason the print got VERY tiny and I had to repost this and it lost the comments.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Avoiding Reality with my Crafty Hat

There are times when I have so many things to do that my mind begins to swirl round and round and instead of focusing on one of the 30 gazillion things that I need to to do, I instead come up with some sort of project that I want to do instead.


Isn't that ridiculous?


Well ridiculous or not, today was one of those days.

So who knows why, but with school starting soon, two staff development workshops to prepare for, a classroom to ready, redecorating home tasks still to be finished and a house to be cleaned I instead decided very early this morning to put on my crafty hat- but I did.

I started out using the rest of the cute (and on sale) fabric I bought last weekend to recover the piano bench to sew two bolster pillows.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Sorry but reading that makes me crack up!

Because here's the thing..............I do NOT sew.

Seriously.

Other than a straight line, I don't know how to sew anything.

I do have a sewing machine and once every blue moon I will take it out and use it.

It always takes me longer to figure out how to fill the bobbin and thread the needle properly than it does to actually complete the sewing itself.

So after much, much, much time spent filling the bobbin (and refilling it after realizing I needed brown, not off white thread) threading and re threading the needle about 1200 times, and using the seam ripper over and over and over again............I was done!

The pillows were actually pretty easy since I didn't use a pattern and I really like how they turned out. I made little ties to tie up the ends of the pillows and making sure they were lined on both sides took longer than sewing the pillows did. I even had enough fabric left over to make a little table runner for the coffee table.

So at that point, I should have cleaned up and started doing the hundred things that I needed to do, right?

I should have.
But I didn't.
NOPE.

I cleaned up, showered and went to Hobby Lobby to get supplies for another little project.

Can you say............DORK?

So after a little painting, a little sanding, a little more painting, and a little more sanding.........here are my two little new sets of blocks.



I think these look so cute sitting on my desk underneath the cute new cross I found at Ross (for only $7.99- woo hoo!). A great reminder that I need to see often!


These are a second set of blocks that I made to go in the newly redecorated bathroom. You might notice I also changed the frame a bit. I traced a piece of scrapbook paper and covered up the metal mat and put a piece of off white velum over the verse. I think it looks so much better and I love the little blocks that spell out GRACE. Another great reminder that I need to see often.

Okay.............so now I guess I have to stop playing an really get busy with all the real things I need to do.

And I will.

I promise.

As soon as I finish just one more little project. :)


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PS And just in case you didn't believe me............here's the big old mess I made while sewing. Look at all that thread. And if you can read really tiny print- you'd see that the thread was from my grandmothers sewing box and came from TG&Y (remember those?) and cost only 69 cents!