pinterest round-up

where did the summer go? {simple back-to-school teacher gift}

My three oldest girls started back to school last week (yes, August 14, crazy, right? No year-round school, either, just the wacky local schedule.), and all three seemed to have a great day. The night before, I was a ball of nerves as I lay in bed trying to sleep.

back to school at impressions by jani

Would they have good teachers? Would they reconnect with old friends? Make new ones? Would I be able to handle sending my third daughter off to kindergarten? Would we get everything done in the morning and be able to take pictures and get to school early enough to find a parking spot and not have to park three blocks away? (And considering that we live just over three blocks away, if not, what’s the point???) Would their teachers like them? Why didn’t I put in a little effort and do a teacher gift this year?

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

See, I’m kinda hit and miss on the whole teacher-gift thing. One year I went all out and made elaborate “back to school teacher survival kit” things complete with cute school supplies and chocolate. One year I sent a bottle of sanitizer for the classroom with a cutesy note about being willing to lend a hand. When my oldest started kindergarten, I wasn’t clued in enough to know about teacher gifts but I did thoughtfully send my five year old into a classroom full of other amped-up five year olds with two boxes of store-bought cupcakes. It was her birthday, after all, but I’m not sure her teacher really appreciated that “gift.” A few years I sent nothing, so what would be the big deal if I sent nothing again this year??? At this point I’m really hoping the teachers at their school don’t compare notes, cuz I can’t go back and do retroactive teacher gifts.

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

But as I tossed and turned and tossed some more (and silently wished yet again that I could fall asleep as easily as my husband, who is snoozing within seconds of his head hitting the pillow), I decided that at least I could do something about the teacher gift.

back to school at impressions by jani

Three jars of jam I purchased from a friend, a little washi tape, some patterned paper scraps, and a pack of pre-made tags from the dollar bin at Tar-jay later, and I have literally the easiest teacher gift ever. And ok, yes, it is a cheesy, way-too-cutesy little note I wrote to go with them, but it (hopefully) gets my point across to my girls’ teachers that I’m willing and ready to help out wherever I can. Bailey, as a fifth grader with her first male teacher, insisted that we should have gotten him a baseball or something instead, but he seemed appreciative of the homemade jam (even if I didn’t make it, ha!).

back to school at impressions by janiDo you do teacher gifts on the first day of school? What are teachers really wanting these days, anyway???


Pin It

ooops, Pinterest-crazy

My apologies if you follow me on Pinterest. I may have just spammed your feed with all the eye-candy I’m searching out for a post-to-be, but it’s all so pretty! You can’t really blame me, right?

I mean, look at this brass sculpture.


It’s actually for sale right now over on Etsy. It would look soooooooooo pretty on my entryway desk. Or my new entertainment center. Or my dresser. Or anywhere in my house. I’ll just tell my girls that they’re brown-bagging it from now until the end of the school year and it will be mine! Oh, wait, they already take their lunches to school . . .hmmmmm, maybe we can just skip swim team this summer, right? Right?

You’ve been warned–I’m home sick today with all my kidlets at school. So expect more pinning-craziness coming your way. But I promise it will be good, totally drool-worthy pins. Pinky-swear.pinterest roundup at impressoins by jani

Oh, and check out this recipe. Made it for dinner last night, subbing in green onions for the red, and my family scarfed it down. Yum yum yummy yum!


Off to exercise my pinning finger some more. Have a great Tuesday!

monday recovery and a few new favorite recipes


How was your weekend? We had a lovely Saturday, with our regular Saturday morning chores and a bit of carpet cleaning with my new Bissel–I love being able to clean my own carpets whenever I want! Then we headed out to a park for some softball practice (both Bailey and Natalie will be starting games in the next few weeks) and came home again for playdates and more family time. Projects+chores+play, topped off with an In-N-Out cheeseburger for dinner makes for a pretty perfect Saturday, in my book.  Sunday was church and baking and watching the Oscars with my girls. Granted, they had no clue what was going on, and we had to parent-edit a few sections out (thank goodness for the pause button!), but they sure loved the pretty dresses. At least, the older two did.

oscars2Littlest sister pooped out pretty quickly. She’s so charming when she’s asleep.

Today I thought I’d share a few new recipes we’ve tried and loved around here. First up, the simplest, yummiest bread recipe ever, that can also be used for cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, bread sticks, you name it!


I’ve been using this recipe for a while for French bread  and just tried cinnamon rolls with it yesterday. I made three varieties–cinnamon/sugar, raisin and nut, and chocolate chip. We gobbled them up–Sunday is such a great day for baking and eating way, way too much. My friend Sarah is my go-to guide for baking anything, and this recipe never disappoints. I also use her rolls recipe for special occasions and my kids love these breadsticks.



red enchilada sauce3Now, if you’re like me and can eat Mexican food for three meals a day, with a snack of chips and salsa thrown in mid-afternoon, you have got to try this recipe for homemade red enchilada sauce. This blog has gorgeous pictures to go along with her recipes as well. I made a batch of this a few weeks ago and served it up when we had guests over for dinner—there wasn’t a scrap left for my lunch the next day. So so good.



3949394720_c854047191_oAnd of course, noodle dishes are always a fave around here, so I had to try Pioneer Woman’s sesame noodles when I saw a knock-off pinned the other day. Delicious flavors, but if I make this again, I will cut the canola oil at least in half, maybe down to a quarter—it was just much too greasy for my taste. I tossed half the sauce with chicken before stir-frying it and adding some broccoli and it was the perfect simple dinner. Even my oldest daughter, who never, ever, ever tries or likes anything new for dinner slurped these noodles down.



TK-Post-Layered-Med-DipTasty-Kitchen-Blog-Thick-and-Chewy-Chocolate-Chip-Peanut-Butter-Cookies-08Speaking of Pioneer Woman, have you visited her recipe sharing site, Tasty Kitchen? I keep their blog in my reader and skim each recipe they highlight—they showcase some yummy things! Two I’m loving from there are these chocolate peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and the Mediterranean 7-layer dip. Take that dip to a pot-luck or couple’s night and you will come home with a clean platter. It’s that good.


I don’t have a photo for this last recipe, but it is my husband’s newest favorite by far. Check out these Middle Easter Beef Kabobs—I served them with pita bread, lettuce, tomato, feta, and hummus for making your own pita wrap. I used tri-tip instead of beef tenderloin and skipped the grilled veggies, since no one in my family is a fan, but the flavor of the marinade is fantastic. This is going to be a staple of our summertime BBQing, I can tell.

What have you been cooking lately? I’m always up for checking out new recommendations!

friday pin-spiration


Are you as thrilled that it’s Friday as I am? I’ve had a little sick one home with me every day this week, and I’m going a little stir crazy! But Monday is a school holiday for the kids, so I’ve got a nice, three-day weekend of sleeping in (right, sweetie?), baking yumminess, and a few projects to look forward to. The main this on my list is a little tile and drywall repair in the master bathroom—we’ve got a crack in the grout on the threshold of the shower that’s been leaking. Ryan and I are going to attempt to tackle this one our own—fingers crossed this project goes a little faster than the trellis we started last summer and have yet to finish up!

This week, I’ve pinned a few fun things to my boards, and I wanted to share.

—-Are you a mom who helps your kids make cute Valentines every year to take to school instead of buying the lame-o $3 packs from Target like I get every year? Check out these and these adorable ideas, perfect for boys and girls!

—I’m making these chocolate chip peanut butter cookies today. Like, as soon as I hit “publish” they are going in the mixer, the oven, and then my belly. Yum!

These Valentine printables had me rolling the other day. I even texted my favorite to Ryan on the spot “If you were a transformer, you’d be Optimus Fine.” He was, um, impressed.

—My sister introduced me to cookie butter when she was visiting at Christmas time, and how yummy (and easy!) does this look?

—I have some creative truth tellers in my home, so this lesson on honesty was a perfect way to start our week. Bonus, it meant I had ice cream in the house for a few days!

And as a tease for next week, there’s my blogging/web/surfing/game playing/housework avoiding spot up there. I recently updated it with some COLOR and PATTERN (though now I need to de-pattern the lamp shade), which I’ll share with you next week. It involves a total splurge for me and a serious $$ saver, as well. Best of both worlds!

Have a great weekend!

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