Monthly Archives: August 2016

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Well, it’s the end of summer, which means I’ve been busy checking off all the great end of summer traditions.

Going to the State Fair.  Didn’t happen.  Too hot.  Too stormy.  Maybe next year.

Seeing the first school supplies in the store and feeling my heart start to race in a combination of excitement for a new school year and dread that summer is ending.  Check.

Shopping for fall clothes.  Almost check.  Seems like they arrive in the stores later and later.  Note to stores – the summer stuff on clearance still hasn’t sold.  Give up.  The stuff left is left because no one wants it.  It won’t ever sell.  We are tired of it.  Bring on the sweaters!

Neglecting to water the flowers I lovingly cared for all summer and secretly hoping they just go ahead and die already because I’m antsy to put out fall mums.  Check.

Waking up in a cold sweat after the first back to school stress dream of the season.  (If you aren’t a teacher, you may not be familiar with the phenomenon of these dreams that generally start like clockwork for teachers in late July.  They usually involve some sort of disaster like a missing class list or an undecorated bulletin board or realizing you have no lesson plans 5 minutes before the kids come rushing in on the first day of school.)  Check.  Although in all honesty this year, for the first time in my life, my back to school dream was a happy dream instead of a nightmare!  That may be due to the fact that I get to work with fabulous co-teachers this year as I embark on new adventures in new classrooms.  Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that I had a really wonderful summer.

Which brings me to the last great end of summer tradition: the “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” story.  This summer I was able to do lots of stuff I haven’t gotten to do for years.  I went out to lunch with several friends.  I got to read several books.  I got to do lots of baking projects from Pinterest, mostly involving lemon and s’mores related recipes because those scream summer to me.  I got to see “Bad Moms,” my first actual movie in an actual theater since “The Lego Movie,” because much like Kristen Bell’s character in the movie, I don’t get out much.  (By the way, did anyone else find it ironic that Kristen Bell’s stay at home mom character in the movie most likely spends a good deal of her time watching “Frozen,” starring none other than… Kristen Bell over and over again?  Well I did.  But then perhaps I related a little TOO much to her character in “Bad Mom’s” and was reading too much into it!)  And best of all, I got to spend lots and lots of time with our precious daughter this summer.  Even though playing her version of “Cinderella” (in which the stepsisters give Cinderella chores and Cinderella says, “No, I’m taking a nap instead.”) got a bit tiring day after day after day, I know I’ll miss having all the free time available just for playing.  Goodbye summer 2016.  Here’s hoping this fall is as wonderful as this summer was!

State Fair Time: Pig Cupcakes

When I was little, the last hurrah of summer was always a trip to the State Fair.  My dad had an exhibit there, so we HAD to go so he could take his turn to clean the exhibit.  Such a burden.  It was always one of my favorite events of the year.  Even though I have always hated getting dirty, there was something very satisfying about spending a hot, sticky evening at the fair walking around looking at (and unfortunately smelling) hot, sticky animals and eating hot, sticky food like cotton candy and elephant ears then coming home to take the most refreshing bath of the entire year and going to bed feeling refreshed and ready to say farewell to summer and start a new school year on a high note.

I have not actually been to the fair for years, partly because school starts sooo early now – before the fair even starts – and partly because it turns out it’s actually really expensive to go to the fair when you’re a grown up and have to pay for your own hot, sticky food and don’t get free tickets anymore.  But still every year when August rolls around, this city girl can’t help but think of the one time of year I feel like a country girl at heart hanging out at the State Fair with all the smelly farm animals.

All that inspires me to make pig cupcakes this time of year.  I found the idea on Pinterest and added some of my own touches.  I used a strawberry cake mix to make pink cupcakes.  I frosted them with strawberry frosting.  The ears were pieces of strawberry wafer cookies, the noses were slices of marshmallows, and the eyes were chocolate chips.  To make them more “State Fair-ish” I added Rice Krispies Treats bales of hay and wrapped them with Twizzlers Pull and Peel strips.  I placed everything on a bed of Rice Krispies to look like hay.

They are fun and tasty and just right for August.  I even made these last year to take to a friend’s pig roast.  They are perfect for reminiscing about the State Fair without the hot, sticky parts – and they are not nearly as smelly as the real pigs there!

Olympic Torch Fun

The Olympics are here!  I love the Olympics.  We had fun at our house getting ready for them this week with the help of lots of neat ideas I found on Pinterest.

First, our daughter made a torch picture complete with Olympic rings and medals.  We used foil and tissue paper for the torch itself, traced her hand and arm on construction paper, and wrapped the paper fingers around the torch.  She glued on rings I had punched out of construction paper.  I thought we were done, but then she added medal stickers she found in my old box of Olympics “teacher stuff.”

Olympic Torch Craft

Olympic Torch Craft

But we didn’t stop there!  Along with out regular cookout food for dinner last night we had Cheetos in ice cream cones to look like torches.  How simple – yet cute – is that??

Olympic Torch Cheetos

Olympic Torch Cheetos

And for dessert we had still more torches.  We made cupcakes in ice cream cones and topped them with yellow and orange frosting.  Admittedly not my most beautiful culinary creations ever, but still very fun.

Olympic Torch Cupcake

Olympic Torch Cupcake

As I said, I really love the Olympics.  You might even go so far as to say that I carry a torch for the Olympics!  Ha ha.  Go USA!