Thursday, September 4, 2014

the life of a teacher's wife

Once again I'm popping in to say hi, I miss you, and sorry for being such a finicky blogger lately!

I'm feeling all the feelings and it's time I share them with you. When you're married to a teacher, a year doesn't begin in January. Nope, a year begins in August and when that teacher isn't contracted the summer is full of interviews, rejections, cheerleading, more interviews, questions, prayers... When a certain day rolled around and there still was no news, we made a new plan for the when/where/hows of real life. And then the next day, hubster got the call and suddenly that plan was out the window. An elusive contract(!!) and we need to move and you start in three days? Ummm...ok!

Let's summarize: We're saying so long to family, friends, and the county we were both raised in and moving to a little townhouse outside of Lancaster. It's cute, has a little backyard, a walk-in pantry, needs a coat of paint on the walls, and a major dog hair carpet cleaning. I'm leaving my job and a little one who won't understand why I'm there one day and gone the next. We now have to begin the church shopping process all over again. Ughhh. Our front room is filled with the smell of cardboard and packing has once again become part of my weeknight routine. Cleaning and painting will occupy the few weekends we have before we move in.

Basically, September is going to fly by. If it's silent around here, you'll know why. I'm pretty sure the next time I write it will be from our new home with new lighting, diy adventures, and recipes to share. See you in October, my friends!

P.S. Follow along on instagram for moving updates!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

summer chicken salad sandwiches

In a perfect blogging world, you would have seen these sandwiches well over a month ago. But alas I don't live in that world. Need some proof? Exhibit A. So it's now August[!!] and I'm finally sharing this recipe that is traditionally a part of our family's 4th of July feast. My mom makes these sandwiches as the centerpiece of a quintessential picnic dinner that usually includes pasta salad, fruit salad, lemonade, coffee blonde brownies... Basically the meal is perfection and is always more exciting than any fireworks show.

I decided long ago that this recipe needs to be made more than once a year. I tweaked the ingredients a bit to reduce the fat while still keeping the chicken salad creamy and refreshing. Make the chicken salad ahead and bring all the sandwiches fixings with you on a day trip to the shore or a picnic in the park. Or if your in the midst of the dog days of summer, rest your oven and your air conditioning bill and enjoy this chicken salad as a no-cook dinner.
A few recipe notes:
  • The recipe calls for shredded cooked chicken. I highly suggest poaching your own chicken breast and keeping it in the freezer for stress-free meals like this one. Here's a tutorial for all you poaching newbies. 
  • I sliced and layered the avocado on the sandwiches because I knew we'd be eating the leftovers the next day. I didn't want the chicken salad to turn an icky, exposed-to-air avocado brown. Yuck. But if you plan to eat the chicken salad the same day you make it, then go ahead and mash the avocado and replace half of the Greek yogurt with the avocado. This recipe variation would have a 1/4 c. each of mayo, Greek yogurt, and mashed avocado in the chicken salad.
  • My mom always serves the chicken salad on crossiants. It's perfect for special occasions, but for everyday meals I serve it on homemade wheat challah that's been cut into rolls. Whole wheat sandwich bread is also a great option
Summer Chicken Salad Sandwiches
[recipe adapted from my mom who got it from a Hellmann's]
Makes four sandwiches

2 c. shredded cooked chicken
1/4 c. reduced fat mayo
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/4  heaping c. chopped scallions
1 tsp. dried dill (or 1 tbsp. fresh dill)
1 tbsp. dijon
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste
4 rolls or enough bread for four sandwiches
1 tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced (or mashed - see note above)
Handful of romaine lettuce (enough for four sandwiches)

1. Mix the chicken, mayo, yogurt, scallions, dill, dijon, salt, and pepper together.
2. Layer the sandwich fixings and chicken salad on the bread. Don't forget to season the avocado and tomato with salt and pepper.

3. Enjoy!

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

printable gold bunting card

Once again I'm here to apologize for the blog silence lately. In the midst of long work days and busy weekends, I've been trying to not let the easy breezy fleeting days of summer pass me by. Instead of shooting a post, we head to one of our favorite parks for an evening walk or an al fresco dinner. When I normally might be testing a new recipe to share with you, I've opted instead to use the panini press, smash summer's bounty between two pieces of bread, and have dinner on the table in fifteen minutes. Call me crazy, but that makes a lot more sense to me than spending all day in a sweltering kitchen! And so please excuse the sporadic posting, it's likely to continue for the remainder of the summer...

...but to make up for the lack of consistent posting, I've made you a printable! Truthfully, I made this card a few months ago for all the weddings and graduations we have or will be attending in the near future. And since I know how much you love printables and pretty cards, I thought I'd be nice and use my preschool skills and share the love.
This card is a conglomeration [word of the day!] of a few of my current loves: simple card designs, bunting, and the kraft/gold color combo that's everywhere lately. It's dressy enough for a wedding, but simple enough for any special event. Bonus: this card is minimal effort with beautiful results!
If you've downloaded any of my printables in the past, you know the drill. Click on the link below and a dropbox window will open with the pdf. The card prints up ready to be embellished. Give the bunting a gold tint, write your words of wisdom, and send it on its way.
[Note: I am a Whimseybox Influencer and these are affiliated links.]

1. Click here to access the printable pdf for your own personal use.
2. Fill your printer tray with the 8"x5.5" kraft card paper (the card size will be 4"x5.5" when folded) and print.
3. Use the gold Sharpie to color in the bunting.
4. Create a crisp fold with a bone folder or ruler and you're finished!
The perfect beginner homemade card for all you newbies out there and an attractive addition to your card stash for all you seasoned crafters. Happy crafting!

Friday, June 27, 2014

bleach pen painted burlap sign

I wish I could tell you I've spent the last two weeks on some incredible exotic vacation. Oh wouldn't that be lovely! But alas, I've merely be in the midst of the everyday doldrums of life. Where days are long, but weeks are short. Today I've finally found a few fleeting quiet moments to sit down and tell you about the newest project to hit the lakehouse walls.

Remember a month ago when I shared a progress report of our current diy adventures in their varying stages of doneness. Well, some of those projects have turned out to be real pieces of work. In fact in honor of said projects, I've made my own rendition of everyone's favorite obnoxious song; "This is the project that never ends yes it goes on and on my friend..." Your welcome. Thankfully, this pheasant cafe sign now resides above our coffee station as proof that projects can actually be completed.
First, we must address the giant bird in the room. Why pheasants? Well, I've asked myself the same question many many times. If we owned this place, believe me those drab birds would be gone in an instant. I don't care how charming or vintage they are. But when you rent, well things are a bit more precarious. And so we've chosen to embrace the peeling, faded pheasants by naming our little coffee station after it. The sign will be a lovely reminder of the good olde granny chic lakehouse days when it's time to leave the pheasant wallpaper behind and move on.

Now that we have the pheasants behind us, let's get down to the diy nitty gritty. This is a fairly simple project. Find a shape. Print it out. Trace with a bleach pen. Add some lettering. Attach to a frame. And presto a new fabulous piece of art to decorate your walls with. And yes, you can use other types of fabric. I know the burlap trend is on the demise, but the look fits perfectly in our cabinesque place. Besides I prefer to walk on the wild side and set my own trends. Life is a lot less expensive that way.

Just in case you're curious about the bleach pen effect on other fabric, check out this shirt I made for the hubster a few years ago. It's still going strong. And yes, he still loves pesto.
P.S. That cake was an epic failure of mass proportions. Proof that not every recipe you find on the internet is a good idea...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

three cheese veggie tortilla pizza

I originally was going to name this pizza three cheese fire-roasted tomato, pepper, and arugula tortilla pizza, but I thought I'd spare you the run-on sentence name. Instead I'm limiting my wordy self and focusing on the basics. Here's what you need to know: the crust is made from a tortilla. The pizza is then piled high with veggies and smothered in three melty cheeses. The end.

This is what I like to call working [wo]man's pizza. It's the kind of dinner that comes together in minutes for an easy, effortless weeknight meal. The addition of fresh arugula and basil gives the pizza a certain garden-fresh quality while the three cheeses add an additional layer of indulgence. Use the topping suggestions as a guideline. Experiment. Create your own variation based upon the odds and ends left in your fridge at the end of the week. Who doesn't love a a good fridge clean out meal? I know this frugalish gal does!

One final word on the crust from the test kitchen: leave the pizza in the oven longer than you think it should. A deeply browned crust is the key to turning this tortilla crust into a wood-fired thin-crust-like taste. Trust me. I learned through trial and error... See the photo below - that's the crust color you're looking for.