Monday, May 27, 2013

End of the Year Teacher Gift

Hello blogging world!  Oh, how I've missed you!  

This past week, my little girl graduated from Pre-K (AND had her cast taken off, AND had her first loose tooth...big week for us!). 

I have to admit, tears were shed.  I wasn't quite prepared to experience the flood of emotions that I did as I watched Penelope give her sweet teacher, Ms. Amanda, a hug for the last time and then to see the tears in Ms. Amanda's eyes....very touching!  Penelope had the most amazing teacher and I was so thankful that she was Penelope's first school experience.  

Both Penelope and I have been thinking for along time about what we should do as a thank you for all the hard work Ms. Amanda put in this past year.  We finally came to the following project.  I am all about a heart-felt, homemade project to show someone how much you appreciate them.  We actually went out and bought her a really cute coffee mug (she's an avid tea drinker) but I really felt that there was no heart in it so it is still sitting on my piano instead.

All of the materials needed for this project were in my craft supplies.  For Christmas, I made my hubby a magnetic Scrabble game so everything was left over from that project.  If you don't have these items just laying around, check your local Goodwill of DI game section to see if they have any Scrabble games.  I know you can also buy some letter tiles at craft stores - I just like the real Scrabble tiles.  The rolled magnet strip was purchased at Joann's.  My kids love to make magnets so we ALWAYS have this at my house.

To assemble the magnetic letter tiles, simply cut a piece of magnet to fit the back of the letter tile and glue it on with the hot glue gun.  The magnetic strip will have some adhesive on it but I have learned from previous experience that it needs a little extra glue to stay long term.  

For my "cookie jar", I found a cool old jar in my collection and then found a metal lid that fit the top.  Penelope painted the lid Ms. Amanda's favorite color.  Then we stuck the letters to the lid, filled the jar with cookies and this is what you end up with...

Here is a picture without the magnets on top.

We paired this gift with a homemade card from Penelope to Ms. Amanda.

As for the cookies, this is my new favorite cookie recipe - peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.  I have NEVER liked peanut butter cookies until I found this recipe from my favorite cookbook, The Grand Central Baking Book.  Now, MY peanut butter cookies are my favorite cookies.  I altered this recipe and added milk chocolate chips and it is even better!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling the cookies
* 1 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
* 1 cup peanut butter, at room temperature
* 2 eggs, at room temperature
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 bag (or approximately two cups) milk chocolate chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Put one cup of sugar into a medium bowl for rolling the cookies.
2.  Using a mixer with a paddle, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until mixture is lighter in color and fluffy.  Add the peanut butter and cream for another minute.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times during this process.
3.  While the mixer is running, crack the eggs into a cup and add the vanilla.  Do this to ensure you don't get egg shells into your dough.  Reduce the speed to low, then slowly pour in the eggs, letting them fall in one at a time and incorporating the first egg completely before adding the next.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once during the process.
4.  Measure the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine.  If flour or baking soda is clumpy, sift the dry mixture.
5.  Gradually add the dry ingredients (in two or three additions) with the mixer on low speed.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.  With the mixer on low, add the chocolate chips.
6.  I like to use a tablespoon scooper for my cookies so they are all about the same size.  Scoop out your dough, using your hands, roll the dough into a ball then roll the ball in the sugar, coating completely.  Place on the cookie sheet.
7.  When your sheet is full of cookie balls, lightly dust your fork with sugar or flour before pressing  to make a crisscross pattern and then press the cookies into 1/2-inch-thick disks.
8.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are LIGHTLY brown.  I discovered the reason I don't normally like peanut butter cookies is because most people cook them until they are crispy.  I don't like that. I like a soft cookie.  If you want it more crispy, cook longer; otherwise, allow the cookies to rest on the sheet for three or four minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool (although I ALWAYS have to have at least one hot, right-off-the-cookie-sheet, gooey cookie).


Stay tuned the next several months for some big projects I will be working on in our new house we move into this week.  They include reclaimed barn wood flooring and a new kitchen!  I can't wait to show you!

Sara Jane


  1. I can't believe PJ is heading to kindergarten! Also... those cookies made me mouth start watering. :)

  2. That picture of her is so adorable. Looking forward to the big projects and making those cookies. One of our favorite is PB cookies with chocolate chips too. I'll have to compare our recipes :). More cookies for me.

    1. I would love to get your recipe. I am always up for trying a new cookie recipe!

  3. I need to see that reclaimed barn wood flooring and kitchen so I can dream. Deal? Deal. Also, are you updating your own blog at all? I forget about blogs when I'm not updating's been a few weeks...but I love keeping up with your family! Also, you just "happen" to have that fantastic lying around in your collection? Um, I go to Ikea just to buy them. All the better that you already have them! Trend setter. :)

    1. The barn wood is being milled as we speak (yay!!!) kitchen is a disaster as we speak :) I hope it turns out well. Just look at my "Someday Home" board on Pinterest to get an idea of my "open" concept. I will definitely post pictures. I don't have my personal blog anymore. I got bored with it. Maybe someday I will do one again (I know you're excited for that!). I do have a few food ones though (surprise surprise). I will post links to them when I get them in better shape. As for my collection of craft stuff...I have so many random things lying around my house. It is a bit ridiculous. I have lots of plans to do projects but they never actually get done :) Nice chatting with you Erin ;)