Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Curious about my desk and fairness

From a student who talks and talks and talks: "That's your name tag and that's your desk, right, Mrs. Johnston? You have a big desk and that's fair. Because you're the teacher and you have to have a computer. Right, Mrs. Johnston?"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grilled Chicken Panini

I love this seasoning...I put it on chicken, hamburgers, salmon, pita chips, etc. It's just garlic, coarse black pepper, and salt.
Tonight I made Taylor a grilled panini with the George Foreman grill with all the fixins...
And I had mine a little plainer...wah wahhh...
Just kidding, I put on an extra piece of bacon after this picture.

Another Penny Bath Post

Because she's just too cute. She looks pretty not-terrified in these.
Her little ears are always half up.

Good Bye Old Church

Next Sunday will be our first Sunday in the new church, so Taylor took this with the panoramic setting on his phone. This past Sunday, there was a really awesome video with scenes from Grace way back when it started. I just love seeing old fashioned church clothes and hair and styles! There was also a quick clip of our wedding in it at the very end! Dad had everyone stand who had been married, baptized, or met God for the first time in this building. It was an emotional moment to see so many people stand. I've only been going to Grace for a few years, but I do have some good memories in that church...getting married, getting to know my in-law fam, hearing moving sermons from my father in law, watching the splendor of Grace Family Christmas, the amazing bagpipes, the Revival, great moments and laughs with my jr. high girls small group in the Dunn Center, and so much more. I am someone who gets very attached to physical things and places, and change can be really tough on me on the inside. We were reminded that the church building is JUST a building. We can worship and praise God wherever we want. We will continue to do that in the new building, and everywhere. I am so thankful for this great blessing God has given us and I hope we use it according to His will!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pumpkin Festival Weekend

Friday after school, I hurried through all of my grading and lesson plans and gym workout so I could have a weekend full of fun. We spent Friday night at the fest, with two friends, Dave and Megan....
We had Uncle Bud's cider slushes and pumpkin ice cream. Taylor and Dave rode the Zipper, and we just walked around for a couple hours enjoying the sights and such. The weather was chilly and perfect!

Saturday morning, we attempted pumpkin pancakes in the tent, but the line was way too long and we weren't sure if Taylor could get to work on time. So...we went to a little breakfast restaurant (which used to be called Penny's! But now is called Sidwell's.) Their pumpkin pancakes were pretty delish...
Taylor left for work, then my family and I went to see the craft booths and found our spot for the parade. My mom's brother and his wonderful family were in town for their first pumpkin festival experience. The parade started out pretty good.....
Jessica (13), Paige (4), and me sitting on the curb waiting for the floats!
 Mom, Uncle Chris, and Aunt Jean 
But, we didn't get to see any of it because of this quickly moving thunderstorm.  Bummer!!

Because of the festival, my best friends, Jamie and Emily were home from Chicago and we went out to dinner at Noir. A fabulous tapas restaurant in Peoria Heights. Go there! Here's the website to see the menu and such. 
These pictures are from the website...
We talked about Jamie's wedding, Emily's future plans for owning and operating an orchard (so awesome), and having our babies together someday. We're in our 12th year of friendship, me and those girls.

Oh, and we got this new delightful coffee maker...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fetuccini with Tomato Cream Sauce

Yummm! I found this recipe at Pioneer Woman, the best blog ever. Mine doesn't quite look the same because I didn't use heavy cream, I used whipping cream instead (because it has a little less fat.) I also didn't put in as much cheese, but it was still so good. Taylor had thirds even! On the top is grated Parmesan cheese and basil. I don't think I like basil so much, so next time, I'll just skip that.

Veggie Pizza

This is one of my family's favorite foods. We have it on Christmas Eve with other finger food appetizers, but I made it this weekend for a cookout with friends. Everyone loves this.

You'll need:
  • 2 rolls of crescent rolls
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (not dip mix)
  • about 1 cup of cheese
  • about 1/2 cup of any cold vegetables chopped finely (or chopped roughly...however you like it!) I used carrots, green pepper, radishes, broccoli, and cauliflower
Grease a cookie sheet and lay out the crescent rolls. You probably won't use all of the second container. Press the seams together, so it's like one big sheet. Bake this according to the package.
While this is baking, mix the sour cream and mix together and refrigerate this. Also, chop up your veggies. I used a chef's chopper because I like when they are really finely chopped.
After the crust is cooled, spread on the sour cream mixture. I think you'll only use about 3/4 of it and the rest can be used to dip carrots or chips. Sprinkle the cheese first, and then the veggies. Cut it up and serve!
See how festive it is? How cute would it be to make the crust in the shape of a Christmas tree or a wreath perhaps...ehhh?

Chicken Broccoli Bake

I found this recipe in this Gooseberry Patch recipe book, which Christine gave me for my birthday this year. There are some good recipes in that book! I should note that Taylor had TJ over for tv watching this week while I was at Back to School night, and they loved this as leftovers. (I also just think it's a funny scenario that they were in the kitchen cheffing this up while I was gone. :))
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (or a few cooked chicken breasts)
  • 3 stalks of broccoli
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 box of Stove Top stuffing
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1/2 cup mayonaisse
Steam the broccoli for a few minutes so it's bright green, and lay this on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Chop up the chicken and layer it next. Mix the soup and mayo together and pour them on top. Add the cheese next. Mix the butter and stuffing and sprinkle over the top. You may not need all of the box of stuffing, but I put it on anyway just to use it. Bake this at 350 for about 20 minutes. I served it with microwaved Bob Evans mashed potatoes. Very easy and very good! It was great on a cool fall night.


I tried to take an adorable picture of Penny with a pumpkin, but she just about had a heart attack when she saw this. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Psalm 19

We studied this Psalm at church today...

Psalm 19

For the director of music. A psalm of David.
 1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
       the skies proclaim the work of his hands.   
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
       night after night they display knowledge.
 3 There is no speech or language
       where their voice is not heard. 
 4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
       their words to the ends of the world.
       In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
       like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 6 It rises at one end of the heavens
       and makes its circuit to the other;
       nothing is hidden from its heat.
 7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
       reviving the soul.
       The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
       making wise the simple.
 8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
       giving joy to the heart.
       The commands of the LORD are radiant,
       giving light to the eyes.
 9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
       enduring forever.
       The ordinances of the LORD are sure
       and altogether righteous.
 10 They are more precious than gold,
       than much pure gold;
       they are sweeter than honey,
       than honey from the comb.
 11 By them is your servant warned;
       in keeping them there is great reward.
 12 Who can discern his errors?
       Forgive my hidden faults.
 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
       may they not rule over me.
       Then will I be blameless,
       innocent of great transgression.
 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
       be pleasing in your sight,
       O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Mr. Sketch Smelly Markers

How much do you love these markers? I love them a lot. I use them for everything at school...making charts, grading, putting stars or smilies on little hands......I could really love these for any Christmas/birthday gift givings in the future. ;) They smell so good and are so fun for the kids. Just one of my favorite things that helps make the day more fun.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things on this Labor Day Weekend

Grandview Drive picnic and walk for dinner on Saturday...

Then we visited Bed Bath and Beyond to look at Keurig coffee makers. We decided on the Platinum QuietBrew. Yay! I think we'll get it this week.

Next, we went to find the Tricentennial Tree, a 300+ year old Bur Oak Tree. They think it was planted around 1499, but there are a few opinions. It is so huge! These pictures are from the Park District and Journal Star.

We also got Starbucks and went to the record store for Taylor. Then we went home and watched Amelie and played with our sweet puppy! Sunday, we went to church, ate at our favorite pizza restaurant, Firehouse Pizza, and then we were pretty lazy for the rest of the day.

Monday morning, we attempted to find a farmer's market, but everything was closed. We tried Apple Blossom Farm, but it was kind of disappointing as far as fresh produce. They didn't have any trees that we could pick from. We got a few apples and we shared an apple cider slush and an apple cider doughnut. The highlight of this trip was the bunnies......
Jail Bunny and Teacher Bunny.

Next, we had lunch and went to the Peoria Zoo. My favorite animal was the Red Hog in the Africa exhibit. Piglets had just been born and they were too cute.
Can you see the four little piggies? They were playful and snuggly.

We came home and Taylor watched a movie while I baked cookies, in preparation for Meet the Teacher Night coming up next week.

Last, we went to the Johnston's house for burgers and we played a fun game of Countdown. What a great weekend!