Saturday, January 26, 2013

School Restaurant

Our restaurant at school has had a face lift.  Before our Thanksgiving buffet, the outside was painted, the old "awning" was painted and lights were attached and the pieces were hung on the wall.  Before Christmas, the sign back piece was cut out by our wood working class and painted pink and hung on the wall by our maintenance man.  Since we have been back from Christmas break, our Graphics Arts class assistant has printed, cut out and hung our logo - that she designed for me and the maintenance man has painted the door frame to finish off our look.  I sent a couple of my students to take a picture for a new recruiting poster and thought you all might like to see what it looks like now. 

You can see inside the blank wall that is just calling out for a painting or two or three.  I really need to work on that part of the restaurant, but am okay for now with the blank wall.  I haven't found the perfect pieces of art and had planned on painting something this summer, but never got around to it since I was such a big bum.   (I am not an artist, but may can do something abstract) I thought about having a couple of my students do something, but wasn't too impressed with their artwork when we were trying to decide how to paint the outside wall.  (the plan was to go with an orange brick color with some blues and greens swirling through, but that got shut down fast - not by me - I liked it).  Below is a close-up of the signage.  This is copyrighted so no stealing of the pictures or design!!!

The reason the frame is wavy like this is because inside the restaurant, there are two frames this same size and two skinnier ones that are vertically on the wall.  They are also this color pink and right now have a turquoise paper in the middle.  Someday soon I will find some cork to put in the middle turning them into a bulletin board.  I want the dark brown cork from the 70's but may have to get just generic cork and paint it dark brown.  I haven't done it yet because I really want that chunky dark brown cork.  Below is a picture of what the board looked like at Christmas covered with wrapping paper.  To the right are the three shelves with knick-knacks I picked out to decorate the shelves.  It's always fun to see the random things on the shelves from a wire pig to a green birdhouse to some over sized jacks.  You can also see a green stool on the table.  I have three of them, a dark green, a light green and a red, that I bought at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago to help give some height when we do buffets.  They have really come in handy.  I even used them when we served at Merry Market.  (They were on clearance and were called garden stools.)  

The picture below is of the two skinny wall boards.  We were just putting out some of the food when this picture was taken.  Our fashion design teacher comes in and decorates the tables for us.  We have a different color theme each year - last year was peppermint or red and white.  This year was more nature inspired.  The Christmas trees (large and small) are mine, I just bring them and she puts them where she wants them and decorates them.  Unfortunately the big tree is not a lit one and we really didn't have the time to put lights on it (see the picture above) but since we weren't going to turn out the overhead lights, we really didn't worry about it, much.  (Also, nobody even mentioned the fact it didn't have lights - guess the table had enough lights)

Some of the food is out in the picture below and everyone is eating and visiting, listening to some Christmas music and having a Merry Mingle time!!  (The guy in the kilt is a teacher at NTO and his students were doing a project over Scotland so he and a couple of his students wore their kilts that day.)

Fun was had by all and it was all down and put away before we left for the day.  It sure comes down a lot faster than it goes up!  Our wooden dining table was out where the sign is now, covered with ornaments made by our fashion design classes and chocolate covered spoons made by our Lifetime Nutrition classes.  These were party favors for our guests to take home and enjoy.

I told our fashion design teacher that I had a little lime green tree and a larger pink tree if she wanted to use it next year - we will see.  LOL  (since then I have also picked up small turquoise, purple and silver trees!! can't wait to decorate next year) 

January's Therapy and Traverse

I often do things and think, I need to blog about this.  As you can see, it doesn't always happen.  It has been 24 days since I last blogged and tons of stuff has happened in that span of time.  School started back up for the semester on the 8th of January.  Not much new to report with that except I did re-arrange my classroom because I was supposed to get 6 new students into my largest class and needed a different seating arrangement to fit everyone in.   Thankfully only 2 of them have stayed with us.  Sometimes the counselors don't pay attention to the fact that my class is double blocked - it takes up two class periods.  So, since they don't pay attention, the students sometimes end up with two classes one period.  Since that can't be done and usually the other class is a core course, my class gets dropped.  Which in this case was a blessing, because 22 in the kitchen is a lot to have at one time - can't imagine adding 4 more in there.  That then becomes a safety issue, in my opinion. 

Okay, school has started, we have already had one vacation day - yeah to President's Day, which is not a legal holiday, did you know that?  I learned that on one of Ree's (Pioneer Woman) quizzes.  I always thought it was a legal holiday.  You can learn a lot by taking some of those quizzes.  Speaking of which, her last Nerd Word Quiz was really, really tough.  We have had our first Quilt-In for the year in our Bee Friends Quilt Group.  We have had several new people join us for the coming year and we are so excited to be growing and adding new members.  Kathy and I are gearing up for our annual quilt retreat at Mitre Peak Girl Scout Camp.  We already have 15 signed up and paid and a couple more that have said they are going to join us.  It will be a great time with Gerrie Hollowell teaching the quilt class.  She is our second guest teacher in about 8 years.   Usually Kathy or I teach the quilt so it will be fun having someone else teaching this year.  I am working on the menu, making changes almost everyday due to dietary restrictions.  We have about 4 diabetics attending this year and I need to be sure I have enough protein for them and not too many carbs and sweets.  I know I won't be able to please everyone, but I hope to have food there so everyone can have something to snack on if they don't like or want what is being served. 

Two weeks ago, I purchased a new car.  I wasn't planning on buying one right now, I thought maybe later this year or next year would be a good time, but things just fell together and now I have a car payment to make each month - yuck.  However, I have a gorgeous 2013 Chevrolet Traverse that will (hopefully) safely get me to all the places I need to go in the next couple of months.  I have been kind of researching a few different cars for the last year - more so the last few months - in the hopes of car shopping sometime next year.  I hadn't planned on buying a new one, but - like I said, it all just fell together.   This is not normally me, but it just felt right.  I haven't taken it out on the highway yet, haven't even driven to Midland, but it drives so smoothly I sometimes have to check to make sure I am not speeding, that would be bad.  Wait, I take it back.  I did drive it a little way on the loop when I test drove it so I have had it up to 70 once.  Even though I had wanted to go to Lubbock sometime soon, my first "long" trip will probably be to Mitre Peak.  Last thing about the car - even though it's been two weeks of driving in town, I have yet had to fill up the gas tank.  Matter of fact, it's still over 1/2 full!! 

As some of you know, back in October I tweaked my knee and have been wearing a brace on it since Halloween.  I finally made it in to the doctor to get it checked out again - it had been doing better and I was kind of doing my own re-hab on it- I know I should have gone during the holiday, but I hadn't met my deductible for last year and if she was going to send me to get an MRI, I wanted it to be on this years deductible so it would benefit me in the long run.   Bad news!!! I had taken off school - my director told me to take off just in case the doctor wanted to send me to other places, then I would be available - I get to the office and my doctor had a family emergency and wasn't in.  They asked if I wanted to re-schedule or see someone else, so of course I saw someone else.  He turned and pulled and checked out my knee and decided that I had tweaked it (see I told you guys) and that I should start in on some Physical Therapy.  So, that is what I am doing.  It is feeling so much better, but the bad news is . . . the afternoon before my first therapy session I was feeling a bit cocky and then I stepped wrong and something in that calf muscle popped.  Two therapy sessions have passed it doesn't hurt as bad and then yesterday there was another popping!  This one was sharp.  I went to our school nurse (after that class was over) and she put an ice pack on it (already swelling up) and then wrapped it.  The wrapping helps it a lot, but now, I am having a hard time doing my knee exercises at home.  I am calling the doctor Monday morning before therapy to see if he wants me to come in - again.  Bummer.  It seems like I can't win with this. 

Well, this is quite long enough, but I have done a little bit of sewing.  That will have to be the topic of the next posting.  Maybe even later tonight after I find some batteries for the camera and do a bit of sewing.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Peas

On Monday during my grocery shopping spree, I purchased "fresh" black-eyed peas" from the produce section of my store. (someone had already pre-soaked dried beans and they were now ready to be cooked)  I had never seen them packaged like this and thought it was a great idea for my New Year's day meal.  This morning after a late start - yea to sleeping in!! - I pulled out my crockpot and followed the directions on the back of the package:  add water, spices, ham and cook in a slow cooker for 3 - 4 hours.  Great!  They should be ready in time for dinner.  NOPE.  They were still hard - not as rocks -  uncooked or partially uncooked beans hard.  So, I turned up my crockpot to high thinking I would let it cook for a couple more hours and I would have them tomorrow.  In the meantime I pulled out a can of black-eyed peas - thank goodness I decided to buy a couple of spare cans just in case - and had me a great dinner of peas, green chicken tamale, chips and salsa and 12 grapes.  (It's a Mexican tradition for New Years)  A great meal, got my peas and grapes in and may have started a new tradition for myself. 

I trudge back upstairs to finish working on this wonderful Christmas Overnight Cinch Sack "recipe" from Moda Bake Shop.  I had made the tree last night and I wanted to finish the bag today.  Below is my version of the Cinch Sack.  I didn't have any rope/cording so I made my own straps from the lining fabric and looped it through the straps on the bottom - which I also made since I didn't have any ribbon that matched.  It is a really cute bag. 

The tree was a bit tedious since the strips are only 1/2" wide so it took a lot of them to cover the area.  It wasn't hard, just took some time.  Especially since I didn't want the strips to just go one direction.  I just pulled greens out  of my 1 1/2" strip box and cut them into thirds.  I thought I would have way too much, but only ended up have a few strips left to throw away.  (I was not going to keep 1/2" strips for the scrap bag)  Looking at the original bag's tree and my tree, I am thinking her strips are a lot wider than 1/2".   Oh, well, I like all the colors in my tree.   I may try it again with wider strips and see what that looks like.

I would really like to make a couple of these with initials on them, so I spent some time making an "N" that I liked and was scouting around for some home dec fabrics when I spotted this leftover piece of fleece.  I made a hat and scarf out of this several, several years ago (okay, probably 8 or 9 years) but I couldn't seem to throw this piece out. Now I am glad I had it.  I whipped up this smaller bag and used some ribbon - I cut off about 10 inches from the length of the ribbon thinking it was way too long, but it turned out I needed those inches since the ribbon is a bit short and pulls up the corner of the bag.   However, once you cinch it up, the ribbon is the right length.  It would be a great bag for a little girl and it didn't take me very long to make at all. 

Even though this project says it's a 60 minute project, the first one took me quite a bit longer than that to make.  The second one - without the tree and with ribbon straps - didn't take 60 minutes.   Once I had finished, I took some pictures and then remembered the peas.  Oh, no, they are probably way, way overcooked by now and will only be good for what they were first used for, cow feed.  I run  - well not exactly run with my knee still being messed up - down the stairs and into the kitchen to check the beans and guess what?  They are still a bit on the undercooked side.  It has been about 12 hours that they have been in the crockpot, most of those on high and they still weren't completely cooked.  They weren't even boiling!!  I guess the crockpot - even though it was hot, wasn't hot enough.  Well, that is the end of my 1980's  (could even be 90's) blue crockpot.  Even though I don't use it a lot, it has come in handy over the years.  Before I throw it out tomorrow, I may have to take it apart and put the pieces on e-bay.  The lid is in great shape and I even have a smaller lid from the previous crockpot that I broke.  I am sure those items are fetching a bundle on e-bay.  Hmm. I might really have to go look.  Goodnight.