Playing Catch Up!

whew! i hope everyone survived the holidays!  i’m still playing catch up.  over the holidays i made wonderful treats,  had fun activities and photographed it all to share on the blog for your family to join in the fun!  then…………..long story short:  my camera battery died and i can’t find the charger.  so i have all these fun photos i can’t get off my camera!  happy new year! 😉

my HATS OFF TO:   radio disney for our december MOOOOve It assembly!   it was so much fun!  they had the entire school off their seat, moving to the beat and stompin their feet!   boy was it neat!    ok, i’ll stop,   but my hats off to the disney team for starting off our holiday season with such a ‘rockin’ assembly!    boy our teachers can moooove!!!!!!

UPCOMING EVENTS:   this wed.   jan. 13th 9:30am  pta party (mtg) in the south trailer.   hey room moms…….we’ll share valentines party ideas you’ll FALL IN LOVE with and we’re looking for voluntEARS for a magic morning breakfast for the teachers and helpers with  teacher appreciation week.   hope to see you there!

we are in the middle of our cookie/pizza dough pta “fun”draiser!  this is the only pta fundraiser of the year, so “dough”n’t ya want to support us? 🙂     this money will help pay for bare books, family fun events and teacher appreciation!

last but not least, seeing as the blog has been on hiatus over the holidays (due to the death of my camera, sniff, sniff.)  i figured i better start the year off with a bang!

whenever i want to make a treat that will DAZZLE the guests i pull out the SPARKLY FRUIT!  it looks like a fancy martha stewart recipe but it’s marsha brady easy.  (not sure what that really means but the brady’s didn’t seem like fancy cooks so that’s the name that came to me, alright?!!)

Caramelized Brie and Wintered Pears (see?  doesn’t the name just sound fancy?)


– wheel o’brie(buy at costco, in a yellow and white circle box that costs around $7.00)  el presidente or something like that.

– pears (i prefer the bartlet pears from costco, they come in a box)

– grapes (looks better with red and green grapes)

– brown sugar

– sugar in the raw (by the brown sugar, comes in a bag.  looks like sugar crystals)

– butter

– chopped pecans (optional)

spray the fruit with pam, then roll it in sugar in the raw.  set fruit carefully on the platter and don’t mess with it much.  otherwise the sugar rubs off.

brie – take it out of the cardboard box, then take it out of the white plastic wrap it’s in.  now you should be holding a wheel of cheese in a white paper-feeling wrap.  the paper wrap is edible but cut the top layer off so you can see the cheese.  leave the sides and bottom on to help hold the cheese’s shape while it cooks.
place the cheese on a cookie sheet with the paper on bottom and the cheese facing up.   bake at 400 degrees for about 18-20min.  you don’t want the cheese hard, but you don’t want it turned into soup either.  you want it very soft without being runny.  you’ll find out what works best for your oven.  i just keep checking it.  if you have large bubbles and it’s running all over the place, you are over done and need to get it out!
i’ve never officially measured the brown sugar and butter, but i’m guessing it’s 1 cube butter and 2 cups brown sugar.  melt butter in saucepan, then stir in brown sugar.  you don’t want any dry sugar, but you don’t want it runny with butter either.  if it’s a thick sugary paste, it’s perfect!

right before the brie is ready to take out of the oven, i pour the sugar over the brie and let it cook in the oven for a bit.  then you carefully transfer it to a platter to serve and place the fruit around it.  sometimes i’ll just put the brie on the platter, then pour the sugar mix over it and call it good.  if you pour it over the brie in the oven, then you have more slop to clean up.  it’s fine both ways.

for presentation purposes, i use an apple slicer and slice several of the pears, place them around the edge of the platter and leave a few pears whole.  it just makes everything look beautiful.  if you want the nuts, just add them to the sugar mix before pouring them over the brie.

voila! martha stewart looking recipe that was very easy to make!  to serve, you can have people put the brie on their plate or just have them dip a slice of pear right into the brie wheel.  soooo dee-lish!


Friday FUN Days at Manila/ EARS to YOU!

most people around the world look forward to friday because it’s close to the weekend.  at manila we have a few more reasons to smile on fridays!

first we have our friday features!   for 10 yEARS emily varney has been involved in bringing the students and faculty at manila AMAZING stories about quality character traits, moments of history and ‘things you otta know’ moments.    as a substitute and volunteer, i looked forward to the days i could be at the school on fridays to hear the friday feature.  i loved every word, but was sad that all the parents couldn’t hear these great ‘mini lessons’ their children were hearing.

this year, emily has gone the extra mile and i say, EARS TO YOU!!!!   she has made a friday feature BLOG and will be updating it every friday!   now everyone can read the little messages emily shares on fridays!   you can link to the friday feature blog easily from our blog!   on the right hand side of the page you’ll see her link.  isn’t that great?!

i’d also like to thank emily for putting extra effort into her friday features this year.  if you go back and read all of them (which i suggest you do!)  they are all tied into our disney theme!  it’s been fun to see the kids faces light up when emily mentions ‘lightening mcqueen’ or ‘walt disney’ in her feature.   WAY TO GO IDAHO!  (what movie is THAT from?)

FAMILY TIP:   if you print out the friday features, they make great dinnertime conversation starters!  emily has added photos to the blog which is fun for the little ones to follow the story.   after dinner you could even, pop some popcorn and pop in the movie that was featured!  it could turn into a family night of fun, with a feel good message on the side.


the other fun thing we have on fridays are SUNSHINE FRIDAYS!!!   the pta spreads a little sunshine once a month to the entire faculty and staff at manila elementary.  this fun tradition was started several years ago by sara allen and i’m happy to see the SUN IS STILL SHINING AT MANILA!

once a month, the sunshine friday voluntEARS pull together little gifts, treats or crafts for all 60-ish staff at manila.   they put little decorations up at lunchtime in the faculty room and lighten things up at lunchtime.   over the years, the faculty has been given super smoothies, darling cupcakes, loaves of homemade bread, items for their classrooms and thank you’s galore!

sara and her team are over sunshine fridays again this year and i’d like to personally thank them for tying things into our MAGICAL disney theme also!  i was giddy with joy when i walked into the first sunshine friday and saw winnie the pooh, tigger and a sign that read:  GOT HONEY?    there were tons of freezer packed HONEY chicken dinners, honey graham crackers and a recipe to go with everything.

EARS to the sunshine friday team and their BEE-rilliant ideas!!!

i know our voluntEARS actually prefer to quietly help behind the scenes  (definitely WORK horses, not SHOW horses), but i just had to CELEBRATE some of their accomplishments that bring joy to my life and manila elementary.

from the adorable bulletin board in the entryway, to the many posters that adorn the hallways, to room moms, newsletter, membership, t-shirts, vision screening, red ribbon, reflections, family fun nights, sep dinners…….my EARS go off to all of you!    thanks for making manila ONE OF THE HAPPIEST PLACES ON EARTH!

can’t wait to celebrate again together soon!


All Rolled Up In One…..

howdy folks!

i can’t believe we made it through one month of school!   back to school night, open house, sunshine fridays, friday features, newsletters, room mother’s ‘mad tea party’, membership drive, t shirt sales and family fun festival…..which i will continue to refer to as the Flood of ’09! 🙂   seriously, i was waiting for noah and the ark to just float around the corner at any minute!

after MONTHS in the planning, the festival didn’t turn out exactly how we’d planned……but what’s a little rain, right?   i could fill an ARK with the number of voluntEARS it took to help pull this off, so forgive me if i miss anyone.

EARS to you!

dr. sorensen for accommodating 1,100 last minute house guests!  we were soaking wet, eating, dancing, playing loud music and setting off the fire alarm. (note to self: cotton candy machines cannot be used in school hallways, who knew?)

glen and his janitorial staff for keeping smiles on as we spilled drinks, dropped sticky cotton candy on the floor and left popcorn trails wherever we went knowing the janitorial staff would be there until very late cleaning up our mess.

teachers who voluntEAR’d their time.  they were supposed to be there to play games with your families and join in the fun.  instead they helped set up and take down chairs, pick up trash, created organized lines for our special guests and kept thinks moving smoothly.  some even added music in their hallway so everyone in line could dance!

our hometown heroes (p.g. fire and police dept.) for braving the down pour outside while we waved to them from inside the school.  please thank them for their service to our community!  i hear they like cookies! 🙂

parents, youth voluntEARS and manila students for HOURS and HOURS of help.  the youth that ran the popcorn and cotton candy machines ran them for over SIX HOURS straight!  my EARS go off to you!

pta members that voted YES! when i asked if we could do this.  i felt strongly our families needed a night together at the school and BOY, did we get a night together at the school!  (i’ll try to be more specific in my future “wish making”)


*the princesses arrived by honda instead of horse drawn carriage.  😦


*jack sparrow steered an automobile instead of the black pearl  😦


*the train on the plain, sat unused in the rain 😦


*the outside family activities were all but washed away by the rain.  (i kept looking for someone to float by in one of the sumo suits!) 😦

NO! it wasn’t how the ‘FAMILY FUN’ was supposed to turn out but i thank EVERYONE who made it a great night!  EARS to all of you who supported this event! it really was a blast……of water and i loved every crazy minute of it.

i’d like to send out a MATTERHORNED sized HUG to all of our wonderful sponsors who donated their time or money to make this event happen.

Radio Disney was paid for by BMW of PLEASANT GROVE-how cool is that?   BMW, thanks for being part of our community!

our princesses for donating their time to visit with us.  if you are interested i’ve posted their website links on the blog, so you can invite them to your home for parties!   the princesses have a new friend named princess amerah.  i know she loves to host birthday parties and play games so check out her website for picts.

and finally to jack sparrow for taking time out of his ‘looting and swashbuckling’ to visit our corner of the map.  it was a treasure having him with us!  did you know he does birthday parties?  he will even bring his big black ship to your home!   you can reach him at:

overall, it was a great way to start our ‘year of celebrations’ off, but we have lots more to go.  (hopefully events with less water!)

check out the FUN we have planned for the upcoming weeks:

family fun night at classic skating:  wed. sept 30th 5:30pm-8:30pm  free admission, skate rentals $1, blades $3 or you can bring your own skates, scooters and blades.

oct 6th-9th book fair and dads n donuts!  this is a great time to load up on great reads.   i’ll be posting my favorite selections as we get closer.

oct 6th and 8th are SEP’s:  have you reserved your appt time yet?     WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEARS TO HELP BRING DINNERS ON THESE NIGHT.

oct 7th wed pta party (mtg) 9:30am in the trailer.  we will plan the upcoming events and share halloween party ideas for the classrooms.  IT’LL BE A SCREAM!  everyone is invited.

oct 12-14  red ribbon week   our focus will be on making healthy choices.   WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEARS TO PLAY GAMES AT LUNCHTIME RECESS (more updates to come)

oct 15-16 no school for fall break

oct 12-13th  family fun neighborhood golf  WE ARE LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEARS TO SET UP A ‘GOLF HOLE’ IN YOUR FRONT YARD. (it’s with wiffle balls so no worries on beating up the house. please check the blog tomorrow for all the details of this fun event.  hope you can PLAY-A-ROUND. get it? a round of golf?  i thought of that all by myself 😉

oct 30th common start day for halloween party.  i’m DYING to see all the costumes!  moo-ah-ha-ha-ah!

reflections is just around the corner!  the theme is “beauty is…..”   thanks to GETAWAY TODAY VACATIONS we have some MAGICAL prizes to give away to this years winners.  IMG_1205 i can’t wait to see what clever entries we receive!

WHEW!  i think i rolled everything up into one big blog!  please check the blog often for upcoming events, voluntEAR requests, recipes and book reviews.  i’ll update it tomorrow on the family fun golfing activity and voluntEAR list.

if you ever need to get ahold of me, I’M ALL EARS!