hypercello

A glimpse into my life

My little troublemaker….

Ignoring all the rules of what she is allowed/not allowed to do….

No photos please…I’m trying to sleep!

Uh oh…busted!

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Yummy…

Nothing makes a dinner even better than some homemade hamburger buns.  I made them slider-size (well, closer to it) to go with some lentil sloppy joes.  They really made the meal, and were much tastier than the ones I could have bought at the store (and a lot cheaper!).

I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour for the buns.  I also forgot to butter one pan of buns before they went into the oven, hence the few that are a lot lighter.  🙂

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Au Gratin Potatoes

I tried the Au Gratin Potatoes and Ham from A Modern Christian Woman‘s blog.  The first pan was so big we were eating on them for a week.  So this time, I tweaked them to be smaller and fit what we had on hand, and they turned out delicious, so I thought I’d share my version of them.  Make sure you check her’s out too!  Wonderful!  We enjoyed the potatoes with some polish sausage, and a nice salad.  Great dinner (and very cheap, too!).

Au Gratin Potatoes

For the cheese sauce:
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4- 1/2 tsp. (or more to taste, I’m not sure how much I put in–kept sprinkling it it) cayenne pepper
1/2- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded cheese (we’ve done it with cheddar and colby)

For the potaotes:
4-5 potaotes, sliced thin (we peeled them the second time we made it)
1/4- 1/2 pound polish sausage, cubed
1/2- 1 small onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (depends on your taste)
1/2- 1 cup shredded cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and spray a square 9″ glass casserole dish with cooking spray (or use butter).
  2. In a medium saucepan,  melt the butter and whisk in the flour.  Add the milk, mustard, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Whisk occasionally until it starts to boil and get thicker (I prep the potato ingredients during this time, and only have the heat on medium).  Take the sauce off the heat, and add the 1 cup cheese, stirring until it’s melted.
  3. Place half the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, and top with half of the sausage, onion, garlic, and cheese sauce.  Repeat the layers one more time, and top with the 1/2- 1 cup shredded cheese.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly.  Enjoy!

A few tips:

  • After you slice the potatoes, keep them in a water bath–this prevents them from changing color.
  • Mix the onions and garlic together–makes it easier to evenly spread the garlic in the dish.
  • Play with the spices to get them to your liking.  Taste the sauce before adding the cheese.  When you think you have it just right, add just a little more to it (since it has to coat all the potatoes).
  • It seems to take me about 45 minutes to prep everything and get the sauce made–make sure you give yourself plenty of time to make it.

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The wonderment of a child

Oh, how I wish I could be a child again, just to have simple pleasure and wonderment from my world around me.  Just watching my children enjoy all the wonderful things that surrounded them at the zoo yesterday made me take a little more time to get the same enjoyment that they did.  As we grow older, we seem to lose the time we use to take to enjoy all that is around us.  Take a minute to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you today.

Alyanna getting her first glimpse at the elephants.

Dalton enjoying the polar bear.

Alyanna and her Nana checking out the penguins.

Dalton and his Nana

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Black bean and corn salad

With summer approaching (and the threat of higher temperatures), I’ve been making more dishes that don’t require cooking.  One of my favorite ones to make (and munch on all week) is black bean and corn salad.  It’s awesome on my tortillas (as I’ve shared before), great with tortilla chips, awesome on its own, wonderful on crackers…the list is endless.  I never seem to make it the same way twice–it all depends on what I have on hand.  I hope you enjoy it as we do!

Black bean and corn salad

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2-2 cups black beans you cook yourself)
  • 2 cups frozen corn (you do not need to cook the corn)
  • 1-2 jalapenos, (mostly) seeded and diced
  • 1/2-1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2-1 small onion (I love using a red onion, but have used whatever I have on hand)
  • juice of 1 lime (have used lemon juice before)
  • fresh cilantro (I usually use a handful), chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp cumin (also have used chili powder instead)
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  1. Combine black beans, corn, onion, green pepper, jalapenos, and cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, and cumin to make the dressing (a trick I learned to get more juice out of the lime is to roll it around on the counter top while applying pressure to it.  Gets it nice and juicy!).
  3. Add the dressing to the salad, mix well, and chill for a few hours.
  4. Right before serving, add the tomatoes and mix well.
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Preschool DIY’s

I’m a preschool teacher (3 year olds–love them!!), and our school year just ended.  Since I have the summer off, I figured I’d work on getting stuff ready for next year.  I found this awesome website, Teach Preschool, that has given me numerous ideas of what I want to make for my classroom for next year.  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been up to.

Kool-aid scented rice:

I followed the directions found here, and made up three scents of rice–pink lemonade, blue raspberry, and lemon-lime.  I love the way they smell, and they dried very quickly.  I’m looking forward to using these in my classroom.  I’ll be making more scents of these as the summer goes on.  I think they will be great for sensory play, and for use in many art projects.

Light Table:

I’ve been wanting a light table for my classroom, but they are so expensive to purchase pre-made.  I decided to google it, and found quite a few directions on how to make one (here’s the one from Teach Preschool).  Mine is made out of a clear scrapbook paper plastic box that I frosted the lid, painted the inside bottom with silver metallic paint, and painted the outside in black paint.  I put a strand of garden lights in it, and it works great.  I know my kiddos are going to have a blast playing with it.  I tossed some of my scented rice on it for the photo.  🙂

Art daubers:

I love doing dot art, but don’t do a lot of it since the daubers are so expensive (unless I hit up the local bingos).  I never thought about making my own, but this post showed me it could be done.  I had a really hard time getting the makeup pads to stay on, so I modified it by putting a piece of flannel fabric over it to help secure it.  I’m hoping the kids have as much fun playing with them as I did.

Magnets:

Magnets are always fun to play with.  I loved this set of magnetic sticks, and made up a set. Now I just need to figure out how to turn the back of my book area (or the back of one of my toy shelves) into a magnetic board (and the other one will be made into a felt board).

These are just some of the things I’ve been working on so far (and preschool has only been out a few weeks).  My class is going to rock so much next year!

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We must be doing something right…

Growing up, we were taught to respect our elders, help others who needed help, watch our language, and treat others as we wanted to be treated.  I’m amazed at how many people don’t seem to teach these values to their children (or maybe they try, and the children have no interest in following them??).  I’ve been observing people quite a bit over the past week, and have just been amazed (saddened, really) about how many people don’t seem to care about the other people around them.  I try to go out of my way to help others, and if someone takes the time to help me, I show them how much I appreciate it.

I’ve noticed I’ve passed these values on to Dalton.  He always has a kind word to say to others, always helps without being asked, genuinely cares for others around him…the list goes on.  I could go on and on about the wonderful things he does for those around him, and how selfless he is, but Aly would never allow me enough time to say it all.  I know we have something very special in him, and I’m very glad to know we must be doing something right…  🙂

Dalton helping his Papa work in Gamma’s yard–trimming the grass after weeding and mulching around her bush (which he offered to do without being asked to).

 

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Kids in the kitchen

Making tortillas

I believe the earlier kids are allowed to help in the kitchen, the better cooks they will be.  I know a few adults who were not allowed in the kitchen as children, and they have no desire to cook now.  Dalton loves being in the kitchen with me, and he’s already turning into quite the little chef.  He can follow a recipe and measure all ingredients.  One of the only things I don’t let him do yet is prepping items that need cut (I’d rather not see him chop off a finger or two).  He’s gotten a few small burns over the years, but it’s made him more aware in the kitchen, and has become more careful when dealing with the hot surfaces.  I look forward to Aly being old enough to help me out in the kitchen.  Sure, it can be messier or take longer when kids are helping, but the benefits they get from learning how to be in the kitchen are worth it.  Plus, what a way to get some family time in!

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This Month In Review

Wow, I can’t believe May has come and gone!  It was a very crazy month here between ant invasions (they are persistent little buggers), Shyla (the dog) eating a burp cloth and having to have surgery, David going up to visit his father (who has cancer), and me finishing up the school year with my preschool kiddos.  So here’s a look back at a few of the photos from the month, and hopefully June provides me with more opportunities to update.

 

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