My 3 Monsters: August 2014

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Strawberry Sandwich Cookies

Strawberry Sandwich Cookies at /
Hi guys!  I had a free afternoon last weekend, so of course I took the opportunity to bake up some yumminess for my family {while watching a Lifetime movie -- don't judge}.  One of my favorite easy treats to make are cake mix sandwich cookies.  There are a million different flavor combos you can make.  They're like the poke cake of the cookie world!  {Mmmmm . . . poke cake . . . next time. }  I usually resort to the classic Oreo version -- chocolate cookies with vanilla frosting -- but this time I wanted something a little different.  That's how these strawberry sandwich cookies were born.

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Book Page Garland on Craftaholics Anonymous Today

Book Page Garland Tutorial by /
Hi guys!  My post for August is up over at Craftaholics Anonymous today.  Since last month's chalkboard project was so labor and tool intensive, I decided to go with something easy-breezy this month.  No special tools required -- just a word processing program and a home printer.  I have made several of these book page garlands this summer -- for my dining room, for a baby shower, and most recently for my office at work.  I never, ever get tired of them.  If you are looking for some serious bang for your decorating buck, this is where it's at!

Hop on over to Craftaholics Anonymous today to get the full tutorial, then come back here tomorrow for a delicious sweet treat.

Have a great day, my friends!



Oven Chicken Fajitas

Recipe for delicious Oven Chicken Fajitas at /
Hello, friends.  I know I'm beating a dead horse by bringing up my job again, but, you guys!  This working full time is kicking my butt.  I used to have hours upon hours of "free time"  to blog and craft and bake before my family came home at night and I had to start in on my "job" of mothering and wife-ing.  Now I spend hours upon hours taking care of other people's children before coming home and throwing something together to eat, starting a load of laundry, and falling straight into bed.  I am loving my job, but I am finding that I really need to streamline my chores here at home.  A great way to do that is by using Reynolds Oven Bags when I cook dinner.

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Recipe Organization and Meal Planning Binder

Recipe Organization and Meal Planning Binder at /
Hi guys!  I have to tell y'all . . . cooking is one of my least favorite chores.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I enjoy the cooking.  It's the meal planning that I struggle with.  Having to come up with something yummy to put on the table seven nights a week is a cruel form of torture to me.  Even when I have found a bunch of new recipes via Pinterest and I know what I want to make, I can never find the recipes again when I need them.  At least not easily.

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Delicious Tuna Salad Croissants

Tuna Salad recipe at /
Hi guys!  It's that time of year when we're all headed back to school and many of us have lunch on the brain.  Packing lunches for school, that is.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I am not super creative when it comes to my kids' lunch boxes.  I think there was one year when my kids ate PB&J with cheese puffs, apple slices and a juice box every single day.  {I wish I were kidding.} Now that my kids are a little older and they prefer their diets to be a little more . . . diverse . . . I find that, with a little creativity, we can make some super delicious school lunches with only minimally more effort.  One of our favorite cold lunches are these Tuna Salad Croissants made with yummy Bumble Bee® tuna.

The tuna salad mixes up in minutes -- barely longer than it takes to spread peanut butter -- and is chock full of flaky tuna, grapes, celery, and green onions.  I like to add a special "secret ingredient that really takes the flavor over the top!

Tuna Salad recipe at /

Tuna Salad Croissants

2 (5 oz.) pouches {or cans} of Bumble Bee® Premium Albacore or Light Tuna
1/2 C. seedless grapes, halved
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 C. french onion chip dip

croissants, lettuce, and sliced tomato for serving

In a mixing bowl combine tuna, grapes, celery, green onions, relish, celery salt, and french onion dip.  Stir to combine.  Serve on sliced croissants with lettuce and tomato, if desired.  

If I am packing this in lunch boxes, I will put the tuna salad into a small container and put the croissant and lettuce into separate plastic bags so the sandwich can be assembled immediately before eating to avoid sogginess.  This tuna salad is also delicious on crackers if croissants are not readily available.  Serve it with a side of fruit and/or carrot sticks and you've got a pretty dang nutritious lunch.

Tuna Salad recipe at /
Tuna has not always been my go-to lunch item.  I have nightmares of when I was in school {eons ago!} and everyone knew when somebody brought a tuna sandwich for lunch because you could smell it from four lunch tables over.  Thanks to huge strides in lunchbox technology, that is no longer an issue and tuna is a perfectly delightful lunch option. 

For more yummy tuna recipes, visit the Bumble Bee® recipe ideas page.  Do you have a favorite meal that you make with tuna?  Leave me a comment because I am always looking to branch out and try something new.

Have a great day, friends!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Giant DIY Outdoor Chalkboard

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Project at /
Hi guys!  I’ve been spending a little time reworking my front porch this summer.  It’s one of those areas of our fixer-upper home that has needed a little TLC.  It’s still a work in progress, but I wanted to share one of the biggest improvements we have made so far.  Our front door has a long, narrow side light window that I have always hated.  When my kids were little, the neighbor kids used to peek in to see if we were home so the kids could play {and our dog would go berserk}.  I tried covering the window with curtains — one on the inside and one on the outside — which helped with the privacy issue, but it still let a lot of heat in during the summer.  Plus, I needed the wall space on the inside for hooks so the kids could hang up their back packs.  The window simply had to go!

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Well, friends . . . we survived.  The first day back  to school, I mean, but actually so much more.  Usually this is the day I look forward to all summer long.  The day in which, under normal circumstances, I celebrate having a little more freedom . . . quietly.  In my quiet home.  By myself.  Quietly.  Sometimes quiet is just what the doctor ordered after a long, hot, busy, noisy summer.  And it is wonderful.

And then other times you take a job as a school health assistant and you go back to school right along with your children.  You dive head first into the noise and chaos that is public elementary school.  You find yourself swimming in the deep waters of full-time employment for the first time in nearly 17 years.  And it is scary and overwhelming, and you wonder if you might drown.  But it is also a little bit wonderful.

These past two or three weeks have been a roller coaster ride for our family.  I was blind-sided by this job opportunity.  A friend {who is the assistant principal of the school} texted to see if I would even be interested in applying.  I applied, thinking that they would never hire a craft blogger with a degree in interior design to be a school "nurse".  And then they did.  I was thrilled, but doubt quickly crept in, as it tends to do.  I was tempted to quit before I even started.  Really tempted.  I had to keep reminding myself that I can do hard things.

Seven and a half years ago I didn't want to learn all about caring for a diabetic 5 year old, but I did it.  It was really, really hard and I did it anyway.  Now it's just normal.  I can't even remember what life was like before this.  My life's experiences -- the really hard ones -- have given me a lot of what I need to do this job.

So I started working last Thursday.  I was already feeling a little overwhelmed with the newness of the situation and being out of the home for the first time since I had kids as the texts from my husband started rolling in on my first day.  "No need to worry, but the car won't start."  "The latch on the driver side door is broken now.  Hope your day is going great."  {Our passenger side door decided to stop working a week and a half ago.} "Good news. There are scorpions in the garage." {We've lived here for 12 years and have never seen a scorpion. So now -- NOW -- they decide to move in?}  And then the kicker  -- "My dad has had a stroke." 

REALLY?!  I mean, come on.  Really?  How much can people be expected to bear before they just snap right in half?  I've struggled all weekend with feelings of worry and anxiety, sorrow for others and feeling downright sorry for myself.  I got up this morning and headed in to work -- my first day with actual students to care for -- and everything was forgotten as I soothed a scared Kindergartner and celebrated a little kiddo's lost tooth.  I spent my entire day helping others instead of focusing on myself and my problems, and THAT was just what the doctor ordered today. 

Even though I've seen it time and time again in my life, it never ceases to amaze me how things seem to fall into place in the most unexpected ways.  I truly believe that God, our Heavenly Father, is watching over me.  And you.  Each of us.  He helps us to face the challenges life will bring, but not always in the ways we think He should.  I never imagined that, rather than being a burden, my new job -- the one I never planned on having and wasn't sure I wanted -- would be what eased the other burdens I hadn't even seen coming.

Life is miraculous.  And terrifying.  Sometimes just plain hard.  But we aren't in it alone and for that I am profoundly grateful.

Have a great day, friends!


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