Well it has been an eternity since I have posted. Life has gotten crazy. Those adorable little kids from years ago are all grown up, I have 2 in high school this year. That is right 2, a freshman and a sophomore. But this post is actually about my 3rd grader. I, for some odd reason put together a little gift for his teacher. We have back to school night in 2 days and I wanted to bring something to his new teacher. So while at the good old Walmart buying all the school supplies for my older kids I picked up a few things that I thought she could use. Clorox wipes, Germ x and tissues. Then I got thinking how in the hell am I going to put these together to be a cute gift.  I had some ribbon and cellophane laying around so I wrapped it up. Then I spent the last hour trying make words rhyme and coming up with a cute poem. Below is the result.



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Back to school Teacher Gift


The result was pretty cute If you were not in a hurry this would be really cute you could add tissue paper, more ribbon and really deck out the poem with cuter font and designs. I am however not usually that crafty. Here is a copy of the poem for you to copy and past for personal use only.

The first day of school is almost here

And I’m excited you’re my teacher this year.

I know I’m really going to learn a lot,

Science and math are thing I love to be taught.

Before we know it, it will be cold and wet,

Kids will be coughing and sneezing I bet.

And there will be germs all over the place.

Here’s a few things to keep our class a clean space.

I’m so excited it’s will be hard to sleep.

But I’ll see you tomorrow with new shoes on my feet.


  • Kimmy (The sticks)



I have always tried to have my kids take vitamins and once in awhile, I make an attempt to take them myself but with everything else that goes on in the evening, I have never managed to have myself or my kids take them consistently.  I decided to try a new tactic at organizing the vitamins that might make it easier each night and this has been working really well for about 3 weeks now.

I ran to the store and got 4 different pill organizers from the pharmacy department.  Next, I organized all my vitamin bottles and decided how often I thought each one should be taken and I wrote that on the side of the bottle (well, actually, I used a label machine).  Then, every Sunday, I sit down for 5 minutes and fill the entire week up with vitamins for each person in the family.  I always include a multi-vitamin and then add certain vitamins and supplements as they seem needed.  For example, in the winter with all the colds and things, I include Vitamin C.  Right now, I have also included a supplement to help my teeth because I had a cavity last year and feel they need to be strengthened.

The kids look like this:


And my husband’s and mine look like this:


I am loving how easy this makes things.  It has been incorporated into our nightly routine and it is super easy and quick because I don’t have to open 10 bottles.

Erin, The Burbs

Today I have a super simple side dish for you that takes about 30 seconds to prepare and takes about 20 minutes to bake.  If your kids are a little picky on their greenery, give this a try.  The fact that it is topped in Parmesan makes it an easy sell to my kids who normally pick zucchini out of the rest of their dishes.

Parmesan Zucchini

Preheat your oven to 400*F.

Cut the ends off both ends of 2 zucchinis and then cut them in half length wise.  Place them on a cookie sheet or some sort of oven safe dish.  Next, sprinkle each one with pepper and season salt.  I would sprinkle a little more than you would normally do if you were salting your food.

20130516_183441Now, take your Parmesan cheese and generously cover the top of the zucchini in it.  I personally use the Kraft pre-shredded Parmesan that we use for our spaghetti dishes.  It is easier and that is what this dish is all about  🙂

20130516_183543Finally, bake in the over for 15 to 20 minutes until the zucchini is done to your liking and the cheese is a bit browned.

20130516_192107(Sorry, this is not a great picture.  I just got a kit to help with that so hopefully from this point on, the food will look as desirable as it actually is 🙂

Serve immediately.  It is yummy!

This makes about 4 servings.

Erin, The Burbs

I LOVE Chinese food!  I don’t however like going out for it often and it is difficult to make at home for a few reasons.  A lot of the recipes are complicated but more importantly, the list of ingredients on the recipes are LONG!  I don’t want to keep that kind of supply around the house all the time for the occasional recipe, its just not worth it! This little menu makes a good, at home substitute that fulfills the Chinese food craving.

Okay, so this is not a full menu, I admit it.  BUT, it is a soup and main dish that use less ingredients than most Chinese food recipes and is pretty easy to make.


First on the menu, Egg Drop Soup.

Egg Drop Soup (From Joy of Cooking)

In a large pot, combine 4 cups chicken broth, 2 large slices of fresh ginger (it is not a waste to buy a root of ginger for just this, you can freeze it for a long time), and 2 large cloves of garlic (peeled and smashed a bit).  Allow that to simmer for about 15 minutes and then discard the ginger and garlic.  In a small bowl, combine 1 T cornstarch and 3 T water.  While the soup is at a low simmer, slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the soup and stir until just slightly thickened (it will be slight, you may barely notice).  Stir in 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper.  In another small bowl, whisk 1 large egg and 1 tsp vegetable oil together.  Now for the only tricky part of the recipe (its not that tricky though).  Make sure the soup is on a low simmer and slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup while VERY slowly stirring.  If you stir too quickly, the egg will break up before it sets and it will have no texture.  You want reasonable size pieces of eggs without having one large string of egg either.  Don’t be intimidated, just try it.  It will still taste the same and even if you mess up, it seriously only takes one trial before you understand what you are trying to accomplish and how to get it.  Serve hot with some sliced scallions on top.

Next, for our main dish, we have Garlic Chicken With Broccoli.

Garlic Chicken

Cut 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite size pieces and place in a ziplock bag.  Add 1 cup water, 3 T soy sauce and 2 T chicken broth to bag.  Seal and mix around thoroughly.  Allow this to marinade for 3o minutes to 1 hour.  This meal is great served over rice so if you want to do that, make sure to have the rice cooking while you cook the rest.  Also, get 1 cup broccoli florets ready (either steam them until done or thaw some frozen ones).  Remove the chicken from the marinade.  Stir 1 T cornstarch into marinade and set aside.  Heat 2 T grapseed oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat and grab 10 bias sliced green onions,  1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms, and 12 cloves of peeled and thinly sliced garlic (I know, it seems like a lot).  Add those to the pan and cook until tender (about 1 to 2 minutes).  Remove them and set them aside in a bowl.  Add chicken to the pan and cook until no longer pink, stirring so it does not burn (about 3 minutes depending on your bite size pieces).  Push the chicken to one side of the pan.  Stir the leftover marinade/cornstarch mixture and pour into the middle of the pan.  Cook and stir until thickened.  Return vegetables to pan and add the cooked broccoli.  Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, until it is thoroughly mixed and heated through.  Serve over rice.

Obviously you need to like garlic to enjoy the main dish here but if you like garlic, it is good and simple!

Erin, The Burbs

I just called my mom to check in with her a bit and got a funny story from her.  She has hardwood floors in her kitchen and dining room and she is having more installed in her entry way and down the hall that leads to the bedrooms (one of which is her office at home).  While this is being done, they cannot walk down the hallway to get to their bedroom or her office so they have come up with a solution that is quite funny.  In order to get to her bedroom, she must go out her back door and climb up a small ladder to her bedroom window and hoist herself through that and onto her bed in her bedroom.  To get to her office she must then go from her bedroom over a little makeshift bridge that goes from her bedroom to her office across the hall.  While this may not seem too funny, I have to picture my mom doing this for 3 days straight.  Each time she needs to do anything in her office or bedroom she will need to do this and each time she needs to go back to the kitchen or anywhere else in the house she will have to climb out her bedroom window and go back inside the house via the back door.  All of which is in the middle of winter where temperatures in the middle of the day here have been in the 20F’s on a good day.  She promised she would send pictures of these ventures as they progressed so I will update with a few if they are as funny as I am picturing in my head.

There are a thousand recipes for taco salad out there and I am not a huge fan so I have not tried many.  I do however, love my grandma’s taco salad!  It is fairly simple and makes a great “group” meal.  We have it nearly every time the whole family gets together.

1 lb ground beef

1/2 pkg taco seasoning

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 avocado, sliced or chopped

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded

1/2 cup salsa of your choice

1/2 of a 16 oz bag of tortilla chips

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, sliced so it falls apart nicely in the bowl

1 cup french dressing of your choice

Brown and drain your ground beef and then return it to the pan.  Sprinkle and mix in the taco seasoning (use 1/2 the package but don’t worry, it does not have to be exact).  Keep on low heat to keep it warm while assembling the rest of the salad.  In a large bowl, add all of your ingredients (when adding the chips, I grab by the handfuls and sort of squish or crush it a little as I add it.  This way it breaks up the chips into smaller pieces).  Stir well and serve with salsa and sour cream.


This recipe serves 6 to 7 people as an only dish.  I imagine if it was served as a side dish or in a potluck setting, it would go further.

Erin, The Burbs

My mom recently asked me to come up with an idea to help her re-organize her jewelry and still make it “attractive” looking because there is no door between her bathroom and bedroom and she did not want the jewelry to be unsightly.  After some Pinterest research and innovative thinking, I came up with a solution that seemed to work very well.

We started with this.  The necklaces were piled on hooks on the wall which truthfully did not look bad I guess but it wasn’t very functional and they were so close to the shower that they were starting to get weather worn.


The earrings were on a small rack on a table, along with many other things 🙂

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Now, for the end result!


First of course, we went through the pile of stuff on the table.  It is one of those areas that just accumulate things and most often, when you go through those places in your house, you find that more than half can be tossed in the garbage or re-organized to a new (more fitting) place in your home.  Next, handled the necklaces.  We installed a curtain rod on the wall and hung shower curtain hooks on it to hold the necklaces.  Make sure you get an S hook or some style that you can just hang the necklace on.  It may be a pain in the buns to have to undo the hooks every time you want a necklace off of it (we wanted look AND function here).  The brilliance here:  Double hang shower hooks!  These are designed with TWO hooks on each one.


Next, we tackled earrings.  This took a little more prep and craft.  I purchased two 8 x10 frames from Hobby Lobby (on sale so it is price conscious) and removed the glass and used pliers to remove the little metal prongs that hold the back in.  For the dangled earring with the hook on the back, I simply used hanging wire (from Joanns but you can find it almost anywhere that sells frames), just be careful not to put kinks in it because you can see them in the end if there are some.  I picked where I wanted the wires to sit and measured on both sides so that they were straight.  If they are not, the earrings may slip down to one side.  I glued one end of the wire to the inside of the frame on the back (with a hot glue gun), cut to fit, and then glued to the other side using pliers to hold the wire tight while the glue dries.  Finally, attach something to the back that you can use to hang the frame.


Now for the stud type earrings.  I removed the glass and prongs again and hot glued window screen into it.  I used an aluminum screen.  To make this easy to access the earrings, rather than hanging in on the wall in a normal fashion, add small hinges to one side and attach it that way.  It will then swing open so that you can easily get to both sides.

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That’s it.  It is pretty and functional.  It is pricey compared to a simple earring holder but not super pricey I guess.  The frames were $6 each, the wire was $3 I think, the screen I already had on hand but probably cost about $6 (although you will only use a SMALL amount), and I don’t remember the cost of the hinges.  For the necklace arrangement, the hooks cost about $7 for 12 of them and the rod cost about $10.  It is a more expensive arrangement of jewelry but it holds a lot, keeping it all out so you can see it and still looks organized.

Erin, The Burbs