Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's Been A Long Time, Been A Long Time, Been A Long Lonely, Lonely, Lonely, Lonely, Lonely Time

Yes it has. 
(^^^^see what I did there?!?!^^^^)

Just paying a little homage to one of my favorites.  Led Zepplin always makes me happy.  While it's definitely been a LONG time since my last post, it's been anything but lonely.  Full of family.  Full of friends.  And full of everything in between.  #thankyoujesus

I spent the better part of January & February working and traveling.  As much as I love what I do, I love to be home even more.  I'm thrilled to be home until June when I'll start traveling again.  And my plan is to update this little neglected blog a LOT more now that I'm here for a while!

When I wasn't traveling,  I watched my youngest perform in his first play (absolutely precious, by the way).  Stood in my younger brother's wedding and gained a sister.  Visited with my best friend.  Cleaned up a little vomit.  Celebrated a few birthdays.  Redecorated the house.  Volunteered a bit. Visited The Ron Clark Academy (totally life changing).  Celebrated my oldest's first lost tooth.  And started Parenthood.  And y'all...Parenthood has consumed my every waking moment. #iwanttobeabraverman

I didn't spend much of that time in the kitchen, truth be told.  We were living on quick meals (aka: cereal and pizza), eating out, and lots and lots of cheese boards!!! #manchegoismyfavorite.  I lose at multitasking.  And I'm totally okay with that!  

If you're still around and kind enough to keep reading, thank you :)  

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year.  I love the silliness of it all.  Even moreso now that I have kids who love it just as much!!!  I mean, they were THRILLED to wake up and throw on their $4, oversized Target specials!!!
On a sidenote, I used to swear up and down I would never buy character clothing and if I did we would only wear it to bed.  That plan worked out great, can't you tell?! 
 #eatingmywords  #myboysloveit

I mentioned earlier that I had the opportunity to visit the Ron Clark Academy.  If you ever get a chance to go, take a cue from Nike and JUST DO IT.  It will change your life.  After leaving the academy I read all 3 of Ron's books.  My favorite is The End of Molasses Classes. (And no, this isn't just for teachers!!!! Parents can DEFINITELY benefit from this, too!  Or if you're just in need of some inspiration, add this to your "must read" list!!!)
  One of his chapters is titled Realize the Power of Gratitude and Appreciation.  To quote Mr. Clark, "When people feel appreciated and that their efforts are noticed, they work harder and do a better job."  Let me just say that the teachers and staff at our school work plenty hard and they all do such an amazing job, but I think it's important to let them KNOW how much they are appreciated and how grateful we are for all that they do...not just for our kiddo, but for ALL the kids and families there. 

For St. Patty's Day this year, I decided it was the perfect time to let our teachers and staff know how much we appreciate what they do for our babies.  We don't have a PTA, so the staff doesn't always get fun treats.  I stayed up late last night making lots of goodies...and eating a lot in the process, too :)

As you can see, SUPER easy to put together and it really didn't take too much time on my end.  I mean, a few hours of baking is nothing compared to what our teachers and staff do every.single.day.
Today they were surprised with....

Pinch Proof Punch  (lime sherbet and ginger ale)
Leprechaun Kiss Cookies (rolled in green sugar sprinkles)
March 17th Munch (Puppy Chow with green mint M&M's)
Taste the Rainbow Fruit Salad (fruit salad with strawberries, oranges, pineapple, blueberries, green grapes, and coconut flakes)
4-Leaf Clover Krispies (Rice Krispie Treats topped with green sprinkles)
Celtic Cupcakes (chocolate cake-from-a-box topped with this buttercream icing)

and lastly, 

Shamrock Shake Trifle

This is my most FAVORITE trifle.  Technically it's not called the  "Shamrock Shake Trifle".  And I can't even begin to tell you where I originally found the recipe.  I've been making this for what seems like forever!  I love making this for parties and family functions because it's quick and easy and ALWAYS a hit!  Never any left!!!  And that's just how it was today, too!

1 box of chocolate cake mix (I use Pillsbury Devil's Food)
1 (3.9 oz) box instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tubs of Cool Whip
Green food coloring 
Sprinkles (optional)

Bake the cake according to package directions.  I used two cake rounds for this recipe.  
While your cake is baking, mix together the chocolate pudding, water, and sweetened condensed milk.  When the mixture is nice and combined, fold in 1 tub of Cool Whip until the mixture is smooth and set aside.  Now take the other tub of Cool Whip and mix in the food coloring (if you're so inclined).  After the cake has baked, remove from the oven and set out to cool.  Once it's cooled, cut the cake into small pieces and add a layer of the cake to the bottom of the trifle bowl.  Since I used two cake rounds, I just tore off pieces from one round and layered it on the bottom of the bowl.  Then top with a layer of the chocolate pudding mix and then a layer of the Cool Whip.  Now repeat.  Take the other cake round, tear it apart, and then layer it on top of the Cool Whip.  Top the cake with the remaining chocolate pudding mix and then the rest of the Cool Whip.  I had some chocolate sprinkles in the pantry, so I topped off the trifle with that.  It would've been pretty amazing with some crushed mint Oreo's, but our grocery store was out (womp, womp).

When I'm making this for parties and family functions, I don't tint the whipped cream with food coloring.  I just leave it as is.  And I will usually add a layer of crushed Oreo's or toffee bits to the top to finish it all off.  I'm tellin' ya, never a bite left in the bowl!!  DANGIT!!


  1. This is all AMAZING!!!!! I wish your boys went to my school! ha! I started off following your teaching blog several years ago- I am a fellow first grade teacher. I then discovered this blog and fell in love with you all over again- I LOVE to cook and bake and entertain. Some of your recipes are my absolute favs- the little chicken bundles with mushrooms, the southwestern type salad with black beans and corn ( I can't remember exact names), the smores bars, and many more.
    I am so excited you are back to posting on here! You have inspired me for years as both a teacher and a Christian mama, and actually were part of my inspiration in starting my own blog. (My sweet friend that you know- Chandra Verbic- also was integral in inspiring me to blog.)
    I would love if you would check it out- it is based on a journal that my sweet mama left me titled "127 Things I Want My Daughter To Know". With each post I plan to share one of her amazing tidbits from the journal and how it impacts me as a mama, wife, teacher, and friend. I would love to link up sometime! The site is www.127things.blogspot.com
    Thank you for being so wonderful!!! xoxo

  2. I wanna make sure I have this right. You use the water and sweetened condensed milk to mix up the pudding instead of the milk called for on the box, right?


    1. Exactly!!! No milk needed :) This is SO dang good!!!!

  3. Welcome back! I've missed you, but following you on Facebook and Instagram, I see you've been busy. I want to eat everything you mentioned here. Lots of it! St. Patrick's Day always falls on our Spring Break so I don't get to do too many fun things in my classroom. Next year though maybe I'll whip up these treats for our break!

  4. This recipe looks AMAZING! I also wish I had the motivation that you do. I often think of making yummy treats for my coworkers but I always talk myself out of it. This gave me a bit of weekend inspiration!