Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sometimes You Just Want to Say, "Whaaaat?"

It got pretty hot at school yesterday (at least for this beach-loving, fog-craving girl).

By 4:00, my classroom was hot and stuffy, even though I had both windows open all the way to create a cross-breeze, and even had the two doors propped open with chairs to keep the air moving around.

I was reading Today I Feel Silly (have I ever told you how much I love Jamie Lee Curtis children's books?  She's brilliant!) to the class when a dad walked in and gawked at the heat.  "No air conditioner?" He stammered in disbelief, "It's too hot for these little children to be in here without the AC on!"  There hasn't been a day yet while I've been employed that the school has turned on the AC.  I'm sure it works, but our classroom thermostat is in a locked box.  I couldn't turn it on if I wanted to (and believe me, this sand-combing, misty-morning girl would turn it on every time it got above 72*, if I had the ability!)

The dad continued, "I work for the city.  I know the rules.  I know it's not your fault---look at the lock on that thermostat!  This is illegal.  They can't do this to you or the children.  It's too hot in here.  I'm calling to report this school in the morning."

Then, in nearly the same breath, he motioned to his daughter.  "Come on, Lily, put your coat on.  We're going home."


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nutella Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Last Friday was an interesting day.

The kids hadn't been able to go outside all week because of the rain.

They were way too energetic, way too cooped up, and you had to feel bad for them.

I felt the opposite of all of those things, but I felt really bad for myself when a mom walked into the classroom after naptime with cupcakes for everyone.  Not only were they cupcakes, but they looked like chocolate, and I could definitely smell the scent of coffee in the air.

Are you KIDDING?!? I wanted to scream, Chocolate-coffee cupcakes for a classroom full of wayyy too energetic four year olds?  Oh my.  Can I clock out and go home now?

But then she handed me one.  And, oh my, my world turned upright again.  Scrumptious!

(I still think there should be a definite rule about bringing cupcakes to school.  If you hand 17 children each a cupcake, you have to give the teacher at least 20 cupcakes so that she can keep up with them for the remainder of the day.)

Check out this beauty.


Healthier, right?

(not that cream cheese is ever going to count as healthy, but this frosting sure is heavenly!)

I begged the mother for her recipe, and she brought it to me yesterday.

To make a dozen cupcakes:

♥1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
♥1/3 cup honey or light brown sugar
♥1 tablespoon ground coffee
♥2 tablespoons milk
♥1/4 cup Nutella
♥2 large eggs
♥1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sweet rice flour*
♥1/4 cup (50 gr) millet flour
♥1/4 cup (50 gr) cornstarch (or use tapioca flour)
♥1 teaspoon baking soda
♥pinch of salt

*Use 1  cup of all purpose flour to replace the sweet rice, millet flour, and the corn starch if desired.

Prepare the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place 12 muffin liners inside a muffin pan and lightly brush with melted butter (or cooking spray).
In an electric mixer, whip the butter and honey until fluffy at medium speed, 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the coffee, milk and Nutella. Still on low, add the eggs, one at time and scraping the bowl after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and slowly fold this in with the butter - Nutella mixture until the mixture is smooth. Divide evenly among the muffin liners and bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting or enjoy warm without.

Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting:
♥8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
♥2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
♥1/4 cup powdered sugar
♥2 oz Nutella

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Sift the powdered sugar over the bowl and whisk for a few seconds. Add the Nutella and mix until completely incorporated.

Spread the rich, yummy frosting over your beautiful cupcakes, and enjoy!

(but please, don't bring them to school!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Girl Brides

I was just laughing over a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Jenny of Notes from the Plumb Tree, who recorded a conversation with her precious daughter about her future wedding day.  Too cute!  Click here to read :-)

In my comment, I shared a favorite memory from when my little sister was about 3 years old.  After I submitted it, I realized that I wanted to share it with you, too!
We love to tease my sister, Kate, because when she was 3, she wanted to marry Daddy.  She was obsessed with Snow White at the time, so she announced that she would wear a Snow White dress, and Daddy would dress up as Frosty the Snowman.  She even picked out the wedding venue--the local La Quinta Inn!  But it had a snazzy bell tower, so how was a 3 year old supposed to know it was just a hotel?

When she discussed all of the details with my mom, Mom said, "If you marry Daddy, what will happen to me?!?"

Without batting an eye, Kate responded, "You can be one of the seven dwarves.  You'll be Grumpy."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Giveaway: Anya's Green Baby

Last week, this precious little beauty showed up in my mailbox.
I've been meaning to share it with you--it made me so happy!  My lovely, talented friend, Anya of Anya's Green Baby, sent this beautifully personalized hankie to me after I entered a drawing for new hankie design suggestions and...glory be...I won!

I simply suggested that I would love to see hankies with pansies on them.  My favorite flower!  Anya went a step further and made the pansy resemble my favorite kind--blue and purple-- and added my initial in a delicate scroll.  Pure loveliness!

Anya didn't just add this love and detail to the hankie because she knew it was going to an old friend; she puts this much of herself into everything she makes.  Don't believe me? Check out her etsy shop!

Anyway, here's the fun part:  this seriously has to be the easiest giveaway to enter.  Ever.

Simply visit and become a new follower of Anya's wonderful blog full of inspiring ideas for green living.

That's it!

I don't want to hear from a single one of you that you didn't do it.  ;-)

Happy Homemaking!

(and happy hankie winning!)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our House is Coming Apart


But it's ok.

Our landlords are paying for it ;-)

Many renovations are being made, and we're very appreciative!

Currently, the bathroom is the project.  We have two bathrooms in this house: the blue bathroom has a toilet, sink, and bathtub, and the yellow bathroom has (or, HAD) a toilet, sink, and shower.

The yellow bathroom is no more.  At least, it has no walls, ceiling, or floor (or amenities).

Makes life interesting, no?

Our dear friends, our landlords (do you know the whole story? I've known them since I was 5 or 6 years old!) are having the yellow bathroom remodeled.  New shower, new flooring, new everything.  It's going to be wonderful!

But right now things are kind of tricky.  Having the shower remodeled means that we only have the blue bathroom right now...which only has a bathtub.  And while candlelit baths can be romantic, trying to stay warm in one at 6am when it's still pitch black outside isn't.  Neither is trying to wash your hair with a cup like a mom washes her two year old's.

Coming home to random men in my house is also kind of strange.

But, these things shall pass.  And then, we will be moving on to installing new flooring in our kitchen and craft room. isn't normal right now.  Not by any means.

And they say it probably won't be until the beginning of April.

Hang tight!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guest Post: 7 Ways to Repurpose Old Sheets and Towels

Bailey Harris contacted me offering to share her tips and ideas for repurposing old materials.  I hope you glean some great ideas from this post!


7 Ways to Repurpose Old Sheets and Towels

Repurposing items you already have is a great way to save money. It is also a good way to be  environmentally friendly. Many household items can be reused, including old towels and sheets. Of course, we all know that you can cut old sheets and towels up and use them as cleaning rags. But what if we have enough cleaning rags, then what do we do with them? There are many things that you can make--all you need is some time and basic sewing skills.

Make a Toy

If you have a child, or know someone who does, you can make a teddy bear or doll from an old towel or sheet. All you need to do this is a pattern and sewing machine. Cut out the shapes, stuff with the smaller pieces of fabric, sew it up. If this is for a small child you can put a rattle inside of it. If it is for a bigger child, add buttons for eyes or decoration, but only do this for children over the age of four.

Make a Heating Pad

This is a very simple and useful way to reuse old towels. All that is needed for this project is a baggie full of dried rice, a needle, and some thread. First, you will need to cut your towel to the size you want your heating pad to be. Next you will want to sew the towel together, leaving an opening big enough to slip the bag with rice in. Once you have the bag of rice inside finish sewing it together. You can make a removable, washable cover by using an old sheet.

Make a Rug

For this project you can use any kind of fabric you have, old towels, sheets, or t-shirts. All that is needed is a rubber craft grid and some time. First, cut your craft grid to the desired rug size. Next you will cut the fabric into one inch by two inch sections. The final step is to thread the pieces through the grid and tie them in a knot.

Make Cloth Napkins

This is another great opportunity to make something you will use every day. This project can be very simply done by just cutting a 16 by 16 inch square of fabric. For a "company's coming" version, take a nice old sheet and sew two pieces of it together.

Make a Pot Holder

This will work better with old towels, but you can also cut pieces of an old sheet and braid them together, to make a pot holder. Take your old towel and cut out as many 7 by 7 inch squares as you can. Take two of the squares and put some cotton batting between them and sew it all together.

Make a Bib

This is great idea if you have children. If your kids are toddles, make a feeding bib. If you have older children, make an artist's bib. Take your old towel or sheet and cut it to the size you want the bib to be. Next, you will need to cut out a hole for the neck. Fold the edges over and put a quick stitch around the outside of the fabric. Use Velcro or a button to close the neck hole.

Donate It

This is a good option if the towels or sheets are stained or if you simply don't have time to make other items. Animal shelters are always in need of old towels, sheets, and blankets. These items are used to keep the animals warm and dry.


Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for Area Rugs Online, a retail site that sells brand name area rugs.


Thankfulness on a Rainy Day

***Looking for my 3rd Anniversary Blogging Giveaway?  Click Here!  It ends Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 at 10:00pm***

It's been pouring all day.

My favorite kind of stay-in-bed day.  It's perfect.  It's cold and grey outside, our bedroom has a misty blue hue to it, I'm under a pile of crocheted blankets and handmade quilts, and I feel perfectly content.

I've had lots of time to think today...and today, my thoughts are filled with thankfulness.

I'm thankful for my husband

I'm thankful for how he makes me laugh. I'm thankful for how he comforts me.  I'm thankful for how he pushes me out of my comfort zone every so often to show me that I can do more than I think I'm capable of.  I'm thankful for his strong arms, and for how he can make the big bad world go away with a stroke of my hair and a kiss on my cheek.


I'm thankful for all of our quirky fun

My handsome man seriously cracks me up!

Who would have thought that I would have married such a ham?

I'm thankful that he pulls me out of my shell.

I'm thankful for our teamwork

I love working side by side with him...whether it's at our home, our church, or on the mission field.

I love that we understand each other.  Words.  Expressions.  Silent conversations from across a crowded room.

I'm thankful for the way he serves me

Not the "I'm a princess and I demand to be treated as such" kind of serving, the "Bethany, I promised you my heart, and everything in me wants to make you happy" kind.  It's humbling.  It's exhilarating.  It's more than I could ever deserve, and I'm reminded of that daily.

Most of all,

I'm thankful that this incredible man chose me.

He could have had any girl (believe me!)

But after pursuing my heart for a year, he asked me to marry him.

It's been nearly three years since I became his wife.

I never knew happily ever after could be so wonderful.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

There's a Rainbow Hitting your House

Jesse and I watched America's Funniest Home Videos last night, and I was absolutely captured by the precious little video that ended up winning the evening.

It was a video of a little girl looking out the window at a huge rainbow across the sky.  She was on the phone, and when the answering machine picked up, she left a message for her grandma.

"Mimi, there's a rainbow hitting your house... I think you have the treasure... So when you get home, look around for the treasure and call me back.  Ok.  Bye."

It was just the cutest thing!  I loved how she sincerely believed there must be treasure at the end of the rainbow, and she knew with everything in her heart that the rainbow's end was at grandma's house.  So adorable!

It felt fitting to share this smile with you, what with Saint Patrick's Day right around the corner, and all.

I wish I had a link for the video!  If you've seen it somewhere, will you share it?  I'd love to see it again.


4 Year Old Cuteness

I'm loving being back with such young ones again.  They are so much fun, and always giving me giggles!

I'm still sick (went to the doctor AGAIN yesterday and for the first time in 4 weeks was finally given antibiotics!) so I don't feel like I'm being the fun, energetic Pre-K teacher I want to be, but I'm enjoying them regardless.

Here are some cute snippets from last week:

Boys playing on the carpet with toy cars, one says to the rest, "Follow me through the parking lot.  Parking around here is pretty tricky..."


Child to parent: Mommy!  Today I learned to shake the Hula!


Teacher: This is a picture of a cactus.  Where could we go to find a cactus?

Student: Mississippi!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Wreath

I had fun making one of these for my mother-in-love, and thought it was a cute and simple project to share with you!

I wish I had thought to make a tutorial before I created this wreath (I'm usually much more step-by-step-y).  As soon as I saw the end result, I thought, duh, Bethany, where was the camera???

So I quickly snapped pictures anyway, and we'll pretend that was the plan all along :-)

What you'll need:

♥6'' grapevine wreath

♥Sheer green ribbon (or whatever makes your Irish eyes smile)

♥Irish buttons--shamrocks, etc.

♥Center decoration--I used a Christmas ornament, but you can write a cute Irish saying on a little sign, hang any little Irish bauble you can find , or go without.

♥Hot glue gun

First, wrap your ribbon around the wreath.  Tack it in place with hot glue on the back so that the ribbon doesn't shift around.

Add cute little buttons between the wraps of ribbon...

I found this cute Irish shoe ornament on sale after Christmas, so I saved it, knowing I could find something to do with it.  We Irish are always crafty like that ;-)

Take another length of ribbon for the bow, and layer as many loops as you'd like.  I did 4.  Then twist and tie it, glue it in place, and add an extra embelishment to the center of the bow.

And there you go.  Taa daa!

Somethin' fit to be smilin' about.

Bain taithneamh as an deireadh seachtaine

(Enjoy the weekend)


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Still Alive :-)

My goodness, what a crazy time this has been!

I seriously can't remember a time I've been so sick in my life.  It's no fun.

But God is good, and after two weeks of sleeping on the couch and making trips to the doctor, I was finally able to go back to work last week.  ("Back to work" is a kind of funny thing to say when I only technically worked one day before this whole thing started!)

I'm still coughing like nobody's business, but I'm able to stand upright and take on any 4 year old the school can give me :-)

I'm so thankful for this job!  I'm still looking forward to fulfilling my dream of being an elementary teacher someday, but I know that now is not the time, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a Pre-K teacher right now.

Plus, God answered the desires of my heart.  I've always dreamed of being a Kindergarten teacher.  I love that age, I love what they learn, I love everything about Kindergarten.  While I'm not teaching a classroom full of Kindergartners, I am teaching Kindergarten curriculum, and these four year olds are some smart cookies!

It's definitely a culture shock to work in a place where you're the only person in the entire school--staff and students--who has blue eyes, though!  All growing up, people commented on the fact that all of my siblings and I have blue eyes.  I was used to that.  But having children stop in their tracks and STARE at me is something else entirely!  Pretty funny.

And then last week, another teacher was hired who also has blue eyes, and all of the staff have been asking us if we're sisters (we're pretty much some of the only non-Chinese teachers there!).

God is stretching me in new ways, showing me that I can do more than I feel up to doing, and keeping His hand on my tired body the whole way.

Please continue to pray that I can get rid of this awful flu.  I'm so sick of being sick!