Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What To Do With a Your Surplus of Summer Tomotoes

Sorry to be a little slow to post this week. Today was the first day of school, so as a teacher, life's been a bit busy lately. I'm still here, but just a little scattered.

So, tomatoes.

My wonderful mother-in-law dropped off some of her surplus of garden tomatoes the other day. They're great in salads and sandwiches, but there's only so much you can do with sliced tomatoes. So I decided to roast them in the oven because I've heard they're delicious.

And they are.

Roasted Tomatoes

1. Slice the tomatoes. If they are the grape or cherry tomato variety, cutting them in half or quarters would work. The larger tomatoes should be sliced 1/4" thick.
2. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet and lay out the tomatoes.
3. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. You could even sprinkle a little salt over them too. I did. Totally optional though.
4. Roast them in a 250 degree oven for about 2 hours. They should end up a little shriveled and crispy around the edges.

You can eat them off the pan. A little too easily.

Or you can pretend to be fancy and lay them on crackers and arrange them on a plate.

And try not to eat the whole thing . . .

(But maybe you didn't get to eat lunch and dinner won't be ready for another 40 minutes-- so you do.)

No guilt. None.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Favorite Things Party

The idea for a Favorite Things party has been around the internet for a while and like many, as soon as I read about one, I wanted to throw my own. And it was a big hit!

The gist of a Favorite Things party is that each person should bring a few of their favorite things (in our case, three items) that cost $6 or less to share with everybody else. At the end of the party, each person goes home with three new favorite things!

I got much of my inspiration from A Bushel and a Peck and Homemaking Fun.


If you follow me on Pinterest, you got a hint at one of the decorations I made for this party. I saw this chalkboard banner and knew that I had to make it. What’s great about this party banner is that it is customizable to any occasion.

The inspiration project used small wooden discs that were painted with chalkboard paint. Instead of wooden discs, I painted up some posterboard and then cut out the circles. Then I hot glued  the circles along a string of yarn. It worked just great.


Before we shared our favorite things we played a short game. The winner of the game was given an advantage, which I’ll describe in a little bit.

For the game, I gave each person a paper that they filled out about a few of their favorite things (i.e. color, candy, actor, actress, flower, etc.) They turned in their completed papers to me, I mixed them up, then I read them aloud without telling who’s was who’s. Everyone wrote down their guesses while I read and the person with the most correct won the advantage.

Sharing Our Favorite Things

I've read of a few different ways that people have chosen to give out their favorite things. What I decided to do was have each person write down their name on three slips of paper that were then thrown into a large bowl. The person that won the advantage only threw in two slips.

We went around the circle and each of us pulled out one item and described what it was and why it was a favorite. Then the person sharing went to the bowl and pulled out one name-- who was the person that would received that item. We went three times around the circle, but stopped right before the very last item was revealed. This is where the advantage came in. The winner was then given the opportunity to steal one item of their choice or give up their advantage and receive the unknown last item. If they chose to steal, the person stolen from would get the last item.

Here Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

Some of the items that were brought were:
-Aquafina lipbalm
-Fuzzy socks
-Sharpie felt tip pens
-Local coffee shop gift card
-Chalkboard spray paint
-Nail art pen
-Coupon organizer
-Eating Well magazine
-27 Dresses movie
-Roman Holiday movie

There were a few more, but I can’t remember them all! I should have written them all down.


A Bushel and a Peck decorated paper bags for everybody to tote their items home in. I loved that idea and it also gave me the chance to organize everything people would need during the party.

Inside the bags: pen, three slips of paper, game questionnaire, blank paper to write down game guesses


I forgot to get a picture of the food. Sorry! I asked each person to bring a favorite appetizer or dessert to share. It makes it really easy on the hostess (yay!) and it was great to share another favorite thing with the group. Be prepared to share the recipe too.

The party was a lot of fun and it was recommended that I throw another one around Christmas time. Sounds like a great idea.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Canvas Chalk Board

I made myself a canvas chalkboard quite awhile ago. It hangs on the wall in my kitchen. My little sister loved it so much that I made her one for a housewarming gift. However when I bought her canvas the two-pack was on sale, so I've had an extra lying around. My mother-in-law was over the other day and love it as well so I thought I would share this with you as I make one for her.

It's really quite simple.

You'll need a canvas. I like the 16"x20" size.

You'll need chalkboard paint. I had Rustoleum's chalk board paint on hand from a few Christmas presents. It was about $10 I think, but it's lasted me forever. You can also get chalk board paint in a spray as well. I've never used it, but I'm sure it works well.

You need to simply paint (or spray) the canvas. Be sure to get the edges too. Two coats work best.

*You should also take it outside to paint it. Don't use the middle of your living room floor like it looks like I did. I took it outside, really. *

Now here's the hard part. . .

According to the directions, you need to wait four days before writing on it.

I only waited overnight, but that's me-- living dangerously.

After waiting patiently, you need to "condition" the surface. Take chalk and cover the entire surface.

Then wipe it off with a dry cloth or paper towel. It needs to be dry because you shouldn't wipe it down with a damp cloth within the first 7 days.

Now it's ready to go!

I like decorate it with all those cute/funny/inspiring quotes you can find on Pinterest.

How to make a canvas chalkboard │ thehappytulip.com

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Restaurant Style Salsa In Three Easy Steps

I love salsa. It's my fave. So not surprisingly, it made my 27 Before Twenty-Seven list:

"5. Make the perfect homemade salsa"

After some looking around I thought I'd try out Pioneer Woman's recipe for Restaurant Style Salsa first because it's easy and  . . . it just looked good.

I didn't follow her recipe to a T. I view a lot of recipes as guidelines and ideas, not rules.

Except baking. Always follow the directions when baking. It's a science.

I decided to halve the recipe, since she said it made a bunch of salsa. I believe her because even half the recipe made a generous amount.

Restuarant Style Salsa 


  • 1 10 oz. can of regular Rotel
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Juice from half of a lime
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 1/8 tsp cumin

I forgot the garlic. I'm totally bummed about that. I would also add 1 clove of garlic.

Step One: Chop It Up
Chop up the onion and garlic. You don't need to make it into neat, pretty pieces. It's all going into the blender, so run your knife through it real quick.

Next, chop up the jalapeno. I used one medium pepper for my half recipe. Pioneer Woman used one pepper for her whole recipe. I like it hot, but it you're a little timid, take out the seeds and go with a partial pepper. But I say go for the whole pepper!

Step Two: Dump It In
Dump all the ingredients in your blender.

Side note: Pioneer Woman uses a food processor. If you have one, feel free to use it. I used to have one, but it's no longer with us. It died after making two batches of pesto. It's a sad story. Such a short, wasted life. Anyway, a blender works just fine and dandy if you're making a half batch like me. If you're going for the whole enchilada, then you'll need a large food processor.

Step Three: Blend It Up

That's it, folks. You made salsa. Congratulations. Oh, and it tastes best if you stick it in the frig for an hour or two before you eat it.

Isn't salsa wonderful? Easy peasy. Full of flavor. Relatively healthy for you, especially for a condiment. . . until you get out its evil twin-- the tortilla chip. But let's focus on the positive, shall we?

My opinion? This salsa is really good. It has a nice fresh flavor. The kick is just right. However, my search for the perfect homemade salsa isn't over. This might be it, but I have a few more recipes to try.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Best of Printable Planners

It's Monday.

It's the Monday of the last full week of summer break. As much as I'd like to not think about the summer coming to a close, I can't help it. It has got me thinking of . . .


For many people the new year starts in January, but for a teacher it's in August. My planner is often on an academic calendar, so I'm in the market for a new planner right about this time in August. This year I'm thinking of going the DIY route.

The places I go for ideas and research is Pinterest and other blogs I follow. It is overwhelming how much you can find if you search for "planner" or "organization" on Pinterest. I'm still thinking through my needs and what would work best for them. I'm thinking it will become an amalgamation of what I find.

Below is a round up of only a few of the resources and ideas I found. Enjoy!

For more planner resources, feel free to follow my "planner" board on Pinterest.

*Click on each image for its download or tutorial*

Daily Planners

My DIY Planner

To Do Lists


Blog Planners



Menu Planners



Holiday Planners

Party Planner