Lemonade Pie

I made this a while back for our Fourth of July festivities, and it was a hit! And I realized later that this recipe can easily become Lime Pie! Or Pina Colada Pie! You just have to substitute the lemonade concentrate and the lemon pudding for whichever flavor floats your boat!

Here's the recipe (originally found in an old copy of Southern Living):


1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 (3.4 oz) pkgs lemon instant pudding mix
1 Tbsp lemon zest (optional, really)
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (12 oz can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (9 inch) ready made graham cracker pie crust
optional: whipped topping


1. Whisk together evaporated milk and next 2 ingredients in a bowl 2 minutes or until thickened.
2. Beat cream cheese and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.
3. Add lemonade concentrate, beating until smooth; add milk mixture and beat until blended.
4. Pour into crust. Cover and chill 8 hours or until firm.
5. Enjoy (and try not to devour all in one sitting!)

Road trip coping mechanism

Today is the second day of our long trek from Texas to New Jersey. Twenty-five hours in the car! Normally we try to get it all over with in one miserable day (like the 20 hours from here to Michigan). But this time, we stopped midway.

Why are taking this trip? To see my sister and brother-in-law (who we haven't seen since Christmas) and to see my brother (who we haven't seen in TWO YEARS!!!). We'll be gone for few weeks so posting will be light. I am SO EXCITED for all the fun we'll have!

Any end-of-the-summer plans for you?

(accidentally) free starbucks

It all started on the last day of school. My cooperating general education teacher gave me a $10 Starbucks gift card to thank me for all of my help this year. It was totally sweet and unexpected!

However, when I went to use it a week or two later, the card reader said the gift card was EMPTY! I protested, said it must have been a mistake, that I had just gotten this as a gift!

The barista felt sorry for me and gave me my iced coffee for free. Score! But I felt sad about the empty gift card. It would have been too awkward to ask the gift-giver to reload it.

So a week or so later I went to a different Starbucks, hoping beyond hope that the last time was just a card reader mistake.

Nope. It happened again. The card came up empty. This time, although I did express my disappointment, I had my credit card ready in my other hand to pay for my drink just in case. But the nice barista behind the counter just waved it off, and said "Don't worry about it, it's on the house!"

WELL. Imagine my surprise when I cleaned out my purse today and found a different Starbucks card. When I looked up the balance online, I was pretty shocked to see that it had $10 on it!!!


I guess I had mistaken an old, expired card for my new gift card and had been trying to pay with that. (And getting free coffee in the meantime, ahem.)

Sooooo, anyone want to meet me at Starbucks?

Swimsuit score

We're taking a trip to New Jersey later this week to visit my sister and brother-in-law. On the phone, she told me to make sure I packed my swimsuit.

Unfortunately, the only swimsuit I have is from 2005. It's a bit outdated. All summer I've been on the lookout for cute swimsuits. It kind of made me sick to my stomach that the cheapest one I could find was $36. Dropping that kind of cash on something I won't wear that often is out of the question!

So I waited.

Every once in a while, I would pop into a store only to get discouraged by styles, price tags, or both.

UNTIL! Until today I went to Old Navy on a whim (it was right next to Joann Fabrics, my original destination). We leave on Friday, so today was going to be my last ditch attempt.

And I scored big time! They were having an end-of-season swimsuit clearance - all swimsuits just SIX DOLLARS!! I found this super cute one similar to this (the picture is from a seller on ebay since I couldn't find it at Old Navy online):

It looks way better on me than on the mannequin if I don't say so myself... Can't wait to wear it with my sister at the beach!

Kitchen remodel

When we first moved into this house two years ago, we were totally in love with everything... except for the kitchen. While it had brand new appliances, the wallpaper was very, um, vintage (and not in the cool way). We hated the border, and half of the cabinets had knobs missing.

We talked about remodeling it someday, but I always thought it was just one of those things we were going to talk about but never do.

Then one day in May (during my husband's one week break between classes) I came home to find that Max has taken off all of the kitchen cabinets. SURPRISE! We're redecorating.

What started off as a one week project turned into about three weeks. Max didn't realize that it would take two 12-hour days just to peel off the 45 year old wall paper. Since we were repainting the cabinets, there was a lot of sanding to be done. In fact, there were lots and LOTS of tedious steps. Here's just a snippet:

And (because I know my parents are wondering), our three cats and our dog did just fine during the remodel. Occasionally, Mrs. Huffepuff even tried to help:

The final touches were just finished up this morning (it took me the longest time to get the right curtains - thanks IKEA!). So I'd like to give you the grand tour of our new and improved kitchen:

The view coming into the kitchen through the hallway (teapot print from Laura Amiss)

Light blue and white

Our trusty deep freezer

Original watercolors from Blue Egg Watercolors.

IKEA curtains

Rug and dishtowels from Target

My trusty recipe box. I should really cook more...

Every time I walk into my "new" kitchen, it makes me smile. Especially with the new curtains!

(P.S The winner of the "Awakened" giveaway is Sharlene!)

A classroom tour

Welcome to my classroom! Come on in and take a peek:
Student names will be written on the frogs before the first day of school!

Language Arts area: where all the magic happens

Calendar: with a high focus on vocabulary (PS: don't you love that rug?)

Command central: where I conquer the paperwork

And my back counter and shelf space underneath is used for storage. For two years, the clutter had been bothering me. Plus, it's too tempting for wandering little eyes:

So I decided to install some curtains. I sewed the fabric myself! (Aren't you proud of me?) I think it turned out much better:

And now, I can enjoy my last month of summer vacation completely STRESS FREE!!

(PS: have you entered my giveaway yet? Today is your last chance!)

Mooooooo for free food

Last Friday was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A. For those of you who don't have a Chick-Fil-A in your state, you have my condolences. It's the best fast food ever.

Anyways, if you dressed up like a cow, you could get a free MEAL (yes, with delicious waffle fries and pop to boot!). So guess who went out for a free lunch?

The expression on Max's face just about sums up how he felt about the whole ordeal. Mixed feelings.

We pulled up to our local restaurant and saw that it was packed -- and besides the employees, we were the only ones dressed up!!

But then we got thirteen dollars worth of food - for FREE.

I said to Max: "Look at all this food we got for FREE!"

He said: "Well minus the social cost...." (as he looked nervously around the restaurant.)

Me: "Honey, all these people could have gotten a free meal. Guess who's the idiot, now?"

Him: "I know exactly who the idiot is."

Near the end of our meal, a gaggle of giggling girls walked in. They were the only other ones dressed up like cows. As we walked by them on our way out the door, one of them said: "See we're not the only ones who did it!"

And to make Max feel even better, on the way out to our car, a guy standing in the parking lot with a group of friends hollered: "Hey, man, so did it work?"

YES! Yes we got our free food. And by the end of it, even my husband was feeling good about it.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done to score free food?

is it ever really over?

You may remember from a few posts ago that I've already started setting up my classroom for the new year (teachers report 8/15). As sad as this makes me, I know I'll be glad when I'm not worrying about school during our three week vacation in late July/early August.

As you may expect, NO ONE is at school yet, besides the janitorial staff.

The other day, our custodian walked by my classroom and looked at me in surprise. "Back already?" he said, "What is there for you to do here?!"

[Insert crazy maniacal laughing here!]

Here was my list:

Four and a half hours later, here was my list.... all but one checked off. Not bad, huh?

Then I hit Target and scored some major loot for my classroom in the dollar bin section. I also bought a rug for my calendar area (this was not in the dollar section by the way, but not bad at $30!)

When everything is exactly to my liking, I'll give you the grand tour - it's froggy themed this year!!

PS: Have you entered my giveaway yet?

Jumping on the bandwagon

Have you jumped on the Greek yogurt bandwagon? Greek yogurt is basically regular yogurt with much less sugar and much more protein.

I bought some at Kroger the other day because they were on sale and I wanted to know what all the fuss is about (I know, I'm so late to the game....). It's pretty good! It was even better when I sliced up some fresh strawberries and mixed it in.

You know who else is a big fan of Greek yogurt? Barney:

What about you? Are you a fan?

that'll teach me to be optimistic

One of the summer's necessary evils is Teacher Professional Development. In my district, you have to do 14 hours of it - 2 days over the summer (this is in addition to the week-long professional development we sit through the week before school starts).

I was hopeful about my training this summer. During the last month of school, my principal came to find me and gave me a special catalog of courses to choose from because I was a "Master Teacher". I'm not really sure what the qualifications are for being a Master Teacher, but I was flattered she considered me to be one!

So I showed up kind of excited on the first day. I had chosen something titled "Closing the achievement gap" by a visiting professor from Michigan State. Unfortunately, the speaker didn't show up and the powerpoint slides were read by a district staff member. Boo.

I was cautiously optimistic on my next training day. But the title implied some pop-psychology drivel ("The power of the Empowerment Dynamic"). Sure enough the first FULL seven minutes, the speaker turned off all the lights and led us into some "centering" activity. We were supposed to close our eyes, breathe deeply and put all of our troubles in this imaginary box. Then we were supposed to pretend we were on a beach.

I was highly uncomfortable with this whole thing. The lady next to me fell asleep. Twice. But mostly people seemed to be enjoying it. Except me with my eyes wide open, as well as the rather large gentleman swirling his straw through the ice in his cup.

If this was what the "Master Teachers" got to learn about, I would just hate to know what kind of training the other teachers got....
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