Skippyjon Jones Chicken

with this week being teacher appreciation i wanted to share a recipe that would remind us of our wonderful teachers.   of course there is “apple” pie but i needed a main dish.   i use skippy peanut butter in this peanut chicken recipe and a “skippy”jon jones picture book was sitting on the desk…………was it fate?  coincidence?   desperation?   ok, so i’m totally stretching here, but if you make this recipe and your kids like it, you can now refer to it as:

the skippyjon jones chicken for teacher appreciation week to remind you of the amazing teachers at manila elementary!!!! ………..or just go with peanut chicken.   no matter what you call it, just enjoy!!!!!

Peanut Chicken

1 lb chicken                      1 cup chicken broth

2 Tbsn soy sauce           2 Tbsn water

1 Tbsn corn starch       ¼ tsp crushed red pepper

½ cup pnt butter         1 Tbsn oil

2 cloves minced garlic or ½ tsp garlic pwdr

¼ tsp ground ginger

1 med onion, thinly cut

8oz. linguini

2 green onions sliced

Med bowl stir chicken broth, soy sauce, water, cornstarch, pepper, then blend in peanut butter.

Heat oil in skillet, stir fry garlic, ginger, onion.  Add chicken, cook till done.   Mix sauce with chicken, cook until thick.   Pour over pasta, sprinkle with green onions.


The Dot

it’s the season of the arts festival!   if you haven’t read the sweet storybook entitled ‘the dot’ by peter reynolds, this would be the perfect week to read it!  dr. sorensen shared this beautiful story with me and i had to share it with all of you.

it shares the story of a little girl in art class with no self esteem.   vashti sits in class staring at a white sheet of paper afraid to express herself.   she doesn’t believe she can draw so why should she try.

her teacher believes in her and asks her to draw something, anything.    vashti draws a ‘dot’ in the center of the page.  the teacher then asks her to ‘sign it’.

the next day in class the teacher does something so special it changes vashti’s level of self esteem forever.

with the arts festival just around the corner, i challenge each of you to start with a dot and find your inner vashti!  who knows what you might discover?  🙂

don’t forget…….when drawing, a line is just a DOT that went for a walk!     mrs. webster is sharing this thought with the students this week during library.

have a great week!

Cheesy Cashew Chicken

friend had a baby?  neighbor is sick?  dinner for a friend…just because?

everyone has THAT ONE RECIPE they always make if they are taking dinner to someone, right?   THIS is my recipe!   it’s down home comfort food that sticks to your gut and is the perfect meal for any occasion.     it’s best served with a side of mashed potatoes, even though i’d be happy just licking the sauce straight from the plate!    say cheeeeeeeeese!

Cheesy Cashew Chicken

Melt 4Tbsp butter in 9×13 pan and lay 6 chicken breasts in pan.

Mix together:

1 can cream of chicken

1 can cream of mushroom  1 cup beef broth

½ c parmesan cheese         ¼ tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp parsley flakes       ½ tsp pepper

Slice 8oz. mushrooms and sprinkle over chicken.

Pour ¾ of sauce over chicken and bake at 325 for two hours. Put remaining sauce in fridge.

Take out of oven, pour rest of sauce and sprinkle with:

Small can of cashews

3/4lb shredded Monterey jack cheese

Return to oven for 20-25min until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown

Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I Don’t)

this book just came out on tuesday so i’m pretty sure none of our teachers would have it yet! (might be a fun gift idea for next week’s teacher appreciation week).    this book is dedicated to every mom, dad, teacher or librarian that has tried to find that perfect book for their picky readers.

this sweet story tells of a ‘reluctant reader’ named missy.   miss brook s the librarian can find books about fairies, dogs, trains and cowboys that kids just love………all kids, except Missy.

missy feels all the books she sees are “too kissy, too pink, too silly”   or “too flowery, too furry, too clickety, too yippety”.

missy’s mom and miss brooks refuse to give up.  they will scour the entire library and comb the book fair to find a book missy likes.

if you have a child that ‘rolls their eyes’ at every book placed in front of them, give this story a try.   the pictures are cute and the story by barbara bottner is a fun read.

Teachers have CLASS!

teacher appreciation is next week!   it’s our time to show the faculty how much we adore them!  if you’ve spent any time at the school you’ll realize how lucky we are to have such wonderful staff take care of our children!

i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again…..manila is one of my happiest places on earth and i hope your children feel the same way!

if you are looking for some gift ideas for teachers, our room moms should have some ‘wish lists’ posted next week.

here are some general gift ideas teachers appreciate–

* gift cards to wal-mart, target or macey’s

*gift cards to their favorite restaurant

*classroom supplies- dry erase markers, glue sticks, colored pencils, crayons, clorox wipes


*gift certificate to the mall

*books for the classroom

*30-40 minutes with students…give us some time to relax

*donate money as a class for a bigger gift- paper cutter, vacuum, lots of books!

*jewelry- necklaces, earrings, bracelets

*favorite drink or treat

*gift certificate to the movies/ or to rent movies

*copy paper


*cash–who doesn’t love this?!

*bath and body works lotions (i’d ask on this one. some people are allergic to scented items)

like to GIFT OUTSIDE THE BOX?  here are some CLASS ACT ideas that might get you an “A” grade  🙂

*classroom cookbook-each student brings their favorite family recipe, you compile them into a cookbook.  really cute if the kids get to write in their own words why they think teacher will like that recipe.

*SHOW how much you appreciate your teacher with movie tickets.

*bouquet of thanks-photos on front of flowers, kind words of thanks on the back. add green pipe cleaners and a vase.  voila it’s a garden of thanks

*themed baskets-put themed items in a bowl, basket, tub, etc that the teacher would like. (examples: summer theme-flip flops, book, water bottle wrapped in a towel or beach bag.    cooking theme- you take the cake! cake mix, sprinkles, frosting)

*bowl her over-in spring target usually has them for $1.00. fill it with fun snacks. popcorn, treats, movie tickets)

*books-let your child choose their favorite book for the teacher. they can draw a picture inside the cover or write their name and date it.  it’s always fun for a younger sibling to get that teacher and find that book!

*flower pen bouquet-you can let the kids make the flowers and bring them in on a certain day. that way the teacher will always have a bouquet of flowers on her desk!

*aprons, hand bags or tablecloths- kids can sign, stamp or paint things on them.  usually requires a few parents to help this gift be made.

*party in a box-put everything the teacher needs to throw a last minute party for when the kids have earned it. little treats, games, prizes, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, etc.   even a limbo stick and a cd would be a hit!

*to a NOTE-worthy teacher-buy a package of post it notes and stick them all over the classroom with little thank you notes on them. i’m sure the students would love to hide them.    this can also be done like a heart attack. each child brings in a heart with thank you notes written on it and they can hide them around the room.  then the teacher always has a fun surprise.  she may find them weeks down the road 🙂

A “DOOR” ABLE decorating ideas: 1st and only rule of decorating doors–DON’T STRESS!  decorating is fun!  don’t think you need to hand draw, personally design or spend hours on the door.  my suggestion is pick a theme that works for you or the teacher, pick a title to show off your theme and then a picture or two.  some people like to involve the entire class for the door.  that’s great but takes more time and organization.  NO WORRIES! the students love all the doors and so do the teachers, so enjoy this project and have fun.  if you prefer to have fun with all the kids help, that’s great.  if you prefer to buy a pre-done kit that you just tape up……that’s great as well.

2nd rule-ask the teacher if she’d prefer the inside or outside of the door to be decorated.  some prefer one over the other.

3rd-measure the door!!!!  take into consideration the door handle, top hinge and door stop.  it’s so frustrating to spend time on a door and then you have to cut it all up because you forgot the handle in the middle of the door!

i wish every door at the school was decorated year round.  i love walking the halls when all the doors are decorated.  what a great feel it brings to the school.  please don’t stress about the doors.  if you’ve never attempted a door before teacher appreciation week, i suggest you give it a try one year.  here are some fun ideas to help you out.  you can cut out and design your own patterns or you can visit my favorite store-utah idaho map world.  they have cute bulletin board packets that are all themed and only $5-$10 each.  you can just tape the stuff up without coloring, cutting or designing.   so easy, just pick a theme.

scrapbook titles are a great source for door ideas!

*miss smith is a “souper” teacher.  big bowl of soup with tons of die cut letters.  spoon sticking out of bowl.  sign could read:  special today: alphabet soup.

*miss smith is out of this world-alien ship, planets, black background

*recipe card reads: recipe for a grade A teacher.  1 cup of patience, 1 tablespoon of fun, a pinch of courage, with a side of love for learning.   big chefs hat that reads: we’re cookin up some fun in miss smith’s class

*sports themed doors-in an all star league, on your mark, get set….learn, TEAM-t-ogether e-ach a-complishes m-ore, we tackle the tough stuff, touchdown, slam dunk, homerun, grand slam, etc.

*having a ball in miss smith’s class-just have pictures of all different kinds of balls (soccer, b-ball, golf, etc)

*the bus stops here-picture of kids in bus

*on the road to success-black winding door up road

*report card-words like what a teacher would use (super! great job! A+)

*”dino”mite teacher-dinosaurs all over the door

*discover wild life-teach 4th grade-jungle or animal theme

*heard the news?  miss smith’s the greatest!  cover the entire door in newspaper

*working hard in miss smith’s -construction theme, wood, nails, orange tape/cones, yellow hard hats, etc

*don’t forget, miss smith’s the greatest!  (big elephant on door)

*having a dog-gone good time in miss smith’s -dog house or puppies on door “no bones about it, we love miss smith”   little dog bones all over

*miss smith’s the best and we’re not LION  (big lion head)

*no monkey’n around in miss webb’s-  we’d go bananas without her.   (monkey themed)

*we treasure miss smith-pirate or treasure chest

*havin a blast in miss smiths-fireworks, rockets, stars, sparklers

*miss smith is “egg”stra special.   big colorful eggs, green grass,  paper weaved basket

*we’re so LUCKY to have miss smith.  lucky charms, green clovers, rainbow, pot o gold

*thumbody loves miss smith-kids thumbprints all over the door or blown up.  you can draw characters on the little thumbprints

*having a great TIME in miss smith’s or how time flies in miss smiths-big clock on door

*hats off to you-mad hatter or tons of hats on door

*here’s the buzz or un-BEE-lievable,  keepin very buzzy in 2nd grade. (bumble bee with big beehive)

*miss smith is the best…..PLANE and simple.    blue background, white clouds with planes all over

*love hangin’ out in miss smith’s class-clothes line with little shirts, pants, socks on clothespins (kids could color the clothes)

*just “developing”  skills for a picture perfect year.   or picture this year to be a great one.   (big camera, film)

*miss smith is “toad”ally awesome.  lily pads, toads….we’re “leaping” to new heights

*big open book,  an adventure is just a page away in 3rd grade.   little book worms on page

*twinkle, twinkle little star, miss smith is just the best by far.  black background tons of stars

*we have perfect harmony in miss smiths’ class.  music notes, full sheet of music behind lettering

*having a REEL good time in miss smiths–fishing pole with little fish everywhere

*we’re NUTS about miss smith-nuts, squirrels, big tree

*we’re SHORE miss smith is the best!  (beach , sand theme)

*having a “whale” of a time in miss smith’s.  blue water, big whale tail,  sea world looking colors blue, black white

*miss smith’s class is ship shape and sailing through 2nd grade (porthole, water, anchor, big sail, sea look)

*all aboard for a fun time.  we “choo” choose miss smith.  train hat and tracks would be perfect on this door

*lasso up some fun, see how the west was fun, howdy pardner (horseshoes, lasso, cowboy hat)

*there’s SNOWbody better than miss smith.  snowman made out of white batting.  kids can make snowflakes

*a “zoo”-per teacher.  black stripes like a cage, with zoo animals on door

*we’d go to pieces without miss smith.  big puzzle pieces out of paper or real jigsaw puzzle pieces  just taped all over

*miss smith takes the cake-big piece of cake on the door, plates, forks, glass of milk.

*you are the “write” teacher for us.  (white background with blue lines like lined notebook paper 3 holes down side, then just write the words with a big marker in cursive)  big pencil or pen off to the side

*miss smith is “puddin” the fun in learning.   big pudding cup!

*kindergarten is rockin out with miss smith.  jukebox, records, maybe fun song titles

*we’ve added everything up and miss smith is #1.  math themed door.  calculator or big numbers falling all down the door

*no matter how you slice it, miss smith is #1.    big pizza with all the toppings.

*miss smith is really groovy!    70’s theme, hang beads in doorway, paper lava lamp, peace sign, retro colors.

*we think “EWE” are the best teacher ever!  big sheep made of cotton balls or lots of little sheep.

WHEW!  over the years i’ve taken photos of the doors.  hopefully i can get my computer to work and post a slide show of the doors soon.   i’m having ‘technical difficulties’  for now you get 3 options showing how different doors can be.   just have fun and enjoy being creative!

here are some ideas that another school shared:

Mom’s Never Fail Fall Apart Roast

nothing like some down home cookin’ this recipe does just what it says. the roast comes out tender and falls apart every single time. i can’t imagine cooking a roast any other way.  just a warning this makes the whole house smell good, so don’t cook it if someone is on a diet.  they will go nuts!

Never Fail Fall Apart Roast

Eye of round roast                     ¾ tsp pepper

1 can cream of mushroom soup   1 tsp garlic salt

1 env dry onion soup mix

2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in ¾ c water

Between 10:30pm and midnight:

Rinse roast and place in crockpot on low.  Pour everything else on roast and cook until 3:00-6:00pm the next day.  First thing in the morning pour a small bag of carrots into crock pot to cook all day.

When almost ready to eat remove roast and carrots to a plate and cover in foil.  Pour gravy into a saucepan.  Whisk 2-3 heaping Tbsp of cornstarch in ½ c water and stir into gravy.  Whisk until it thickens then serve with mashed potatoes and carrots.

if your family prefers to mash their own potatoes on their plates you can just cut up potatoes and put them in the crockpot the same time you put the carrots in early in the morning.

If you don’t like bits of onion and mushroom in your gravy you can quickly strain it after taking the roast out and before adding the cornstarch. Then it’s just creamy and smooth for the kids.  it’s not as full of flavor, so i prefer to leave all the yummy extras in it, but if you have picky kids……it’s an option.

if you have leftover roast and gravy it makes a wonderful stew the next day!  toss the meat and gravy into the crockpot the next morning, add a can of cream of celery, a can of tomato sauce, some diced potatoes, carrots and you’ll have a great stew for dinner.  if you don’t have leftover gravy you can use another can of cream of mushroom with the the other ingredients and it will still be delish!

Alice in Wonderland

with the movie opening this weekend i felt the only book i could review this week is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

i’m sure we’ve all seen the disney cartoon alice in wonderland.  talk about curiouser and curiouser!  i absolutely love this movie but i know it’s not for everyone.   it definitely leans towards the creative side of things. 😉   whether you like the movie or not, the book is brilliant.  personally i don’t consider it a cute children’s book.  the creative writing and beautiful poetry are more for adults but i enjoy the imagination and ‘wonder’ it shares.

did you know that alice was a real little girl that lived in england?

charles lutwidge dodgson (lewis carroll) was an english author and mathematician in england.  charles went on an outing with the dean of the school and his daughters.  while on the boat ride, charles made up a story using the dean’s daughters as main characters.   alice was one of those little girls!

alice begged for charles to write the story down and he granted that wish at christmas.  she was given the original manuscript and held onto it until a few years before her death in 1934.  it now resides in a british museum.

reading takes us on a journey.  we can be a pirate, a princess, a peddler or a poet.  i am thankful lewis carroll shared his storytelling talents with a sweet little girl named alice and i’m thankful alice begged him to write it down!

alice liddell

Previous Older Entries