Thursday, August 30, 2012

BACK TO SCHOOL 101: giant pencils, blueberry muffins, and Apple Baskets for teacher

This BACK TO SCHOOL season is a little bit new for us.  Our boys are going back to the school they attended when they were younger.  For a few of those elementary years I home schooled them.  I have details on one of our home school class rooms in a past post,  HERE called Polka Dots and Crayons, a school corner.  I was super excited to hear that the school they learned at daily when they were little was using my favorite curriculum again, soooo....we made the switch!

I'm a lover all ALL seasons, and what I like best about the transition of long summer nights to clipped autumn days is the fresh routine, almost forgotten during the lazy, easy moments of summer.  I thrive on the newness of organized schedules.  It's like celebrating a HAPPY NEW YEAR twice a year.  We get two chances a year to create a fresh start, make goals, organize, and plan.

The boys transform into ORDER just as our daily lives do: their beachy blonde long hair gets trimmed to frame their adorable faces, their colorful board shorts and flip flops are traded for tidy uniforms and lace up shoes,  and their days are lined with timed routines instead of spontaneous mini adventures.  All seasons have treasures worth celebrating!  I thrive on the mad passion of summer just as much I thrive on the polar opposite season of "back to school" order and routine.  

Back to school breakfasts!

I can't believe I have a son in MIDDLE SCHOOL!  Wait a second, I was just in middle school.  This feels bizarre.  Cameron absorbs every chance to learn and he is the ONE who can't wait to open a new school book and read straight through it five times.  His mind is driven with passion toward learning.

Dakotah, my always bright-smiled, bright-eyed middle boy is excited about every season and every day (just like his mama).  The newness of school causes him to bounce right out of bed.   But soon, the novelty will wear off and he'll be waiting for the next great thing: Christmas!  (again, just like his mama!).

Titus, my baby my youngest, quietly anticipates new experiences with ready expectation.  He knows what he likes and with barely whispering a word,  he soaks up life.

We woke up EARLY-- painfully early, compared to what we're used to.
 I captured a big yawn here.

Waiting for the doors to open...

New shoes?  Check.

As I made Cameron hold still while I snapped pics of his shoes, I noticed how PERFECTLY STILL he was holding.  Then I drew my eyes away from my camera and found out why! He was reading while I took pictures! haha

My grandma (their great grandma) just bought them these CRAZY COOL super-sized pencils to kick off the new school year.  They discovered them in my grandparent's traditional treasure box on a recent trip to Arizona.    

I decided to CREATE A new tradition out of the pencils.  Every year, I'll record their grade and height and a side of each of their pencils.

The top names the grade and the bottom names how tall they are!
I double love these giants!

I spent a day baking dozens of breakfast muffins and freezing them for quick eats on rushed school mornings.  I will be sharing a post SOON on some of the muffin recipes.  These delicious ones were blueberry muffins in a jar.  Recipe coming soon...

1,2,3 muffins...for 1,2,3 boys.

Mornings start new with
fresh blueberries and books

Pencils ready for reading, writing, and arithmetic

Classic goodness in pretty jars

For teacher gifts, I wanted to give something simple and classic.  I told the boys about the pioneer days with one-room schoolhouses in the country.  Most of the students came from farms and the start of school was the prime season of apple harvest so students would gift their teachers with apples.  We still do that today! 

Apple baskets for teachers!

Just a simple apple paired with 100% apple juice, 
not a candy apple on a stick or anything fancy.  

I found these adorable school lined paper printables from Creature Comforts blog
I wrote a little spin off of the "apple a day" phrase:
An apple for each teacher today,
makes your students smarter in every way.

We are ready for a beautiful, brand new school year!
Learning is a gift to accept with grateful hearts.

For more BACK TO SCHOOL posts see:

Sweetly Sharpened and Back to School (with pencil cookies)

PB & J Comfort Cupcakes and eco-friendly lunch box ideas

Be safe, learn lots, have fun BACK TO SCHOOL wishes

Polka Dots and Crayons: a school corner

Hurry Up and Grow Up 

Apple Disc Power snacks

And remember to...

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This post is linked to:   Under the Table & DreaminNifty ThriftySeasonal SundaysMade by You Monday,  Met Monday, Tuesday Tutorials and TipsHOMEWORK: Be InspiredTasty TuesdayTip JunkieGet Your Craft OnWorks for Me WednesdayOrganize and Decorate EverythingCelebrations at Home,Transformation ThursdayTablescape ThursdayStrut Your Stuff36th AveFoodie Friday, Frugal FridayI'm Lovin ItTickled PinkFriday Flair, Design Dazzleeighteen25Be Different Act Normal,  Funky Junk Interiors, Weekend Wrap Up sew many ways Six Sisters Saturday 

Monday, August 27, 2012

4 amazing fresh PEACH recipes!

Every August I share a big juicy PEACH post full of peach perfect recipes on my blog.  This year's collection is my favorite yet! We live near some of the best peach orchards ever.  Palisade, Colorado, has a signature reputation for their peaches:  they grow the BEST, they smell the freshest, and they taste the juiciest..  Visiting the Palisade orchards and gathering boxes of peaches at our weekly farmer's markets is a summer pastime for our family.   This annual peach post has become one of my most anticipated blog posts of the year!

This year I'll share both savory and sweet recipes for your peach lust lovin'.  All 4 of the following recipes get a big A+, written in red with a smiley face.  I definitely want to make all of them again.

Dig into peaches!

Recipe #1: Roasted Peach Pork Chops

The Roasted Peach Pork Chops is started in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, then transferred to the oven for an easy roast.

 This aHHHH-may-zing pork chop recipe is compliments of Real Simple magazine and follows the Paleo (caveman) diet.  Click HERE to see the Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches recipe.

Sliced peaches, fresh basil, red onions, and roasted pork chops...

Our entire family, 3 stair-step boys included, enjoyed every bite of this Roasted Peach Pork Chop dinner!

Recipe #2:  Grilled Peach & Feta Salad

This refreshing salad tasted delicious.  It takes just a few minutes to toss together.  Slice peaches and carefully grill on medium heat.  To a pretty plate add, spring mix, fresh baby spinach, red onions, feta cheese, peppers, grilled peaches.  Finish with a few drops of oil and balsamic vinegar.


For the last two recipes, I pulled out my Pioneer Woman cookbook!
Last year I celebrated the Pioneer Woman's TV show launch party with some incredible women.  We had a brunch of yummy bites, including some recipes from the Pioneer Woman.  This launch party was hosted by my friend, Kathy 

Kathy also had a super EXCITING surprise for us!  At the party she displayed the collection of the Pioneer Woman's books.  And she had a special book just.for.meKathy knows Ree and she arranged to have Ree autograph a cookbook for me!  Every time I pull my Pioneer Woman cookbook out, I get excited all over again about her special surprise for me.  Thanks Kathy!

My autographed cookbook from the Pioneer Woman!

Recipe #3: Peachy Poppers, 
jalapeno poppers with a pinch of peach

Bacon-wrapped, cream cheese-filled jalapenos have been a popular appetizer the last couple of years.  Umm, because they're SO YUMMY.  Pioneer Woman put a twist on this recipe in her original cookbook by adding bites of peach to these jalapeno poppers.  They taste DIVINE.  You can find the recipe here.   

Right before wrapping with bacon add a peach slice to each popper. 

 We used turkey bacon instead of pork bacon because our family prefers it, but either one works. 

Recipe #4: Peaches & Cream Sourdough French Toast

I sliced sourdough bread.  For the egg bath I added a bit of fresh ground nutmeg, milk, and vanilla sugar.  I prepared the french toast as usual.  For the cream sauce, I made Pioneer Woman's rich creamy maple sauce!  The only difference is I served it hot.  She recommends serving it cold with the recipe she paired it with.  For french toast, I used it as a hot syrup instead.  After I topped the french toast with the homemade maple cream sauce, I added fresh peach slices.  

 Peaches & Cream weekend breakfast is served  ...with a slice of turkey bacon!

A quick tip if you're preparing a big batch of peaches for a meal: to quickly peel the skin off of peaches boil a large pot of water in the microwave.  Gently place the peaches in the water and leave in for a minute or less. Remove with tongs. Immediately place peaches in an ice bath for a couple minutes.  When you remove them,the skin will pull right off! 


Maple Cream Sauce (via Pioneer Woman):
Pour 1 1/2 cup whipping cream into a saucepan. Add 5 tablespoons real maple syrup, 3 tablespoons corn syrup and stir over moderate heat until thickened and reduced by about one-third, approximately 15 minutes. 

That completes the 4 peach recipes for this year, August 2012.  Savoring the fresh foods derived directly from our soils is living in the simplest form.  Every piece of fresh produce that grows from baby seeds each year should be elevated and celebrated.  The new, colorful crops of fruits and vegetables each season are a dance of life for us to use and to love. 

For more peach perfect recipes see past posts:

Happy Peaches n' Cream August days!
What's your favorite way to eat a peach?

I have a facebook page finally:

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This post is linked to:   Under the Table & Dreamin, Nifty Thrifty, Seasonal Sundays, Made by You MondayMet Monday, Tuesday Tutorials and Tips, HOMEWORK: Be Inspired, Tasty Tuesday, Tip Junkie, Get Your Craft On, Works for Me Wednesday, Organize and Decorate Everything, Celebrations at Home,Transformation Thursday, Tablescape Thursday, Strut Your Stuff, 36th Ave, Foodie Friday, Frugal Friday, I'm Lovin It, Tickled Pink, Friday Flair, Design Dazzle, eighteen25, Be Different Act NormalFunky Junk Interiors, Weekend Wrap Up sew many ways Six Sisters Saturday