Thursday, January 31, 2013

For A "Souper" Valentine

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Kelly

Hey Ladies,

I thought I would pass along a favorite recipe in our house.  A friend gave this to us a few years back and it has become a staple!  This soup tastes even better served with some crusty bread, a salad and a glass of red wine.  If you're looking for something to bring to a friend or loved one, this would be great.  Did I mention it's really easy AND delicious?

I call this:  Pasta Fagiole that tastes a heck of a lot like 
the one from Olive Garden.


  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 95/5 beef and it still tasted great)
  • 7 ounces of carrots, slivered
  • 4 ounces of onions, chopped
  • 7 ounces of celery, chopped
  • 1 c red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 c white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 44 ounces of beef stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp parsley (fresh, chopped)
  • 3/4 tsp tabasco sauce
  • 24 ounces spaghetti sauce
  • About 4 ounces of small shell macaroni

1.  Saute beef in oil in large 10 quart pot until beef starts to brown.  Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer about ten minutes.

2.  Drain and rinse beans and add to pot.

3.  Add beef stock, oregano, pepper, tabasco, spaghetti sauce and shells.  Simmer until celery and carrots are tender...about 45 minutes.

* I bought two 33 ounce containers of beef stock.  I find sometimes you can add more stock as needed if the soup gets mushy (for leftovers) or too thick.  When I made it this time I only used one can of beans and 95/5 beef.  It was still really delicious!

Best served warm a cold winter's day/night!


This yields a fair amount so I packed some up for a friend.  I used a ball jar and attached a hand written note.  I also sent along some bread!

photo (8)

There you have it.  Soup to nuts.  You know I can't resist being corny. 

Your funny valentine, 

Note from Mrs. Williams:  Yum!  I'm trying this recipe tonight.  Thanks for sharing!

Note from Mrs. Gosling:  Best surprise dinner ever, thanks Mrs. K.  This "down and under" girl really appreciated it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

School Supply Valentines

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hey Naptime Notebook Friends,

You know when we used to go trick-or-treating as kids and the worst part was when someone had the nerve to hand out fruit, or raisins, or pennies?  As a kid, I remember thinking, "What is wrong with them?  Don't they know that Halloween is all about candy?"  Now, as an adult, with another candy-crazy holiday around the corner (Valentine's Day), I, myself, have turned into one of those crazy old people offering up a holiday treat that ISN'T candy.  (Gasp.)  

This year, I thought I would have my son hand out school supplies with fun Valentine's puns instead of candy to his classmates. I know, I know, his peers will probably launch snowballs at him at recess for skimping on the candy.  Perhaps, they'll forgive him when they see how cute the tags are (made by Mrs. Presley our resident printables expert) and realize that a pencil, for instance, will bring much more joy to their lives much longer than some Skittles (yeah, right).  At any rate, I included lots of ideas in case you, too, want to make your kid the most unpopular child in class.  

School Supply Valentine - Pencils
Valentine tags
Just cut up the tags for the pencils.

Valentine printables
Then add a little tape to secure the tag and this sweet Valentine is all done!

School Supply Valentine - Glue Sticks
I'm stuck on you!
These are easy...cut out the tag and tie some baker's twine (or ribbon) to keep the tag secure.

School Supply Valentine - Markers
In order to tie the tag on the marker, I cut two slits at the top.  Then, my little guy threaded some string through the slits.

Once the tag is tied on, it's ready for a Valentine mailbox.

You Make the Mark! Valentine

School Supply Valentine - Ruler
Somehow addressing these cute tags wasn't such a chore for my son.  
Valentine with a ruler
I cut two slits in this tag (one towards the top and one at the bottom).  Then I just threaded the ruler through for a fun and useful Valentine.

School Supply Valentine - Pencil Sharpener
Valentine with pencil sharpener
After this Valentine was addressed, we just taped on a pencil sharpener.  Couldn't be easier...or cuter!

School Supply Valentine - Pens 

To add the pen, I just did that two-slit-thingy again.
You're all write!
I'm kind of nuts about this one.

School Supply Valentine - Paper
Paper Valentine
A little baker's twine wrapped around some post-it notes makes for a sweet Valentine.  Don't you think?
Wouldn't the paper ones be cute with pencils and/or pens attached too?
handmade valentine ideas
Here they are all together.  Lots of options for geeky Valentines!

In my opinion the best part about theseValentines are the cute tags. And you can print them out to by clicking here.


You can also check out some other fun printables that Mrs. Presley has shared with us (and you) here and here.

Off to Staples for some more school supplies,

P.S.  In case you can't get enough of Mrs. Presley's cute work, check out:

P.P.S.  I figured you might want to get started on these Valentines right away, so I sourced out where you can buy each type of school supply affordably below.  



$5.29 for 48 pencils at Staples.

Glue Sticks:
$7.98 for 18 glue sticks at Discount Office Supplies.


$5.96 for 30 washable markers at Amazon.


$5.50 for 48 Valentine ruler bookmarks at Oriental Trading.

Pencil Sharpeners

$7.50 for 24 pencil sharpeners at Oriental Trading.  


$4.00 (on sale) for 60 ballpoint pens at Staples.


Note from Mrs Gosling:  OM to the G!  I love this idea and I love the tags (thanks Mrs. Presley).  I'm totally doing all of these this year!  Thank you so much for taking the guess work out of my munchkins Vday treats ... er, I mean "useful tools that will help them grow, learn and explore their minds."

Ah, so ... when did your oldest get a Tat?  I'm loving the inked arm look!!!

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  Oh man, the teacher in you is all over this post.  I have another to add:  those little post it tabs and then say, "I'm keeping tabs on you."  Just kidding.  I love all of these!  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Velvet Lavender Hearts

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hey Girls,

While out and about with my mom on Saturday I saw some sweet crushed velvet hearts filled with lavender.  The cutest part?  They had a wire loop on the top.

I almost bought one for $14.  Then, I came to my senses.  I mean who loves crafting and sewing and rubbing velvety fabric between her fingers endlessly more than this girl?  So, I headed to Jo Ann's for some crushed velvet fabric and wire (I got pink - couldn't resist).  I already had some stuffing and lavender (what, that's not standard at your house?).  Then, I made four velvet-lavender-hanging-hearts and here's how.

1.  Assemble Materials
crushed velvet fabric, 20 gauge wire, stuffing, and lavender
2.  Draw and cut out a heart pattern.

I can't ever find some paper in the house.  So, I just drew my heart on a magazine advertisement.

3.  Pin down the pattern and cut out two hearts.
If you make one, you'll want to cut one heart out on the right side of the fabric and the other on the wrong side of the fabric.
4.  Sew (with machine or by hand).

Leave a hole on one side of the heart for the stuffing.
5.  Stuff and add some lavender.

6.  Hand sew the opening closed.

7.  Cut some wire for the loop.  Poke the ends of the wire through the top of the heart.

Fabric heart

Twist the end of the wire so that you don't have dangerous bits of wire sticking out.
8.  Make a bunch and hang them all over your house.  If you have little ones like me, you'll find them everywhere...fireplace, kitchen cabinet, mantle.  It's like an egg hunt with hearts around my house lately.


Now that I have four with plans to gift three, I'm kind of not sure what their true purpose is...but I like them.  I hope you do too. 


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vintage Valentines on Display

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hey Ladies, 

Over 80 years ago my grandfather was a little boy just like my little boys are today.  On February 14th each year he also handed out Valentines to all his friends and sweethearts (he's a charmer) in grammar school.  I even have proof...Valentines from my grandfather's childhood.

My mom shared five Valentines from his childhood with me and I oohed and ahhed for at least ten minutes as I tried to take in all the beautiful and intricate details of the vintage Valentines (and the amazingness that these cards still exist!).

Here's a Valentine addressed to my grandpa from Dorothy.

Love Letter

Winking Valentine
The girl in the middle winks!

After I had poured over every tiny detail of the cards, I knew they were too pretty to put back in the envelope my mom stores them in.  So, I pulled out these guys.

Shadowbox ideas
Shadow Box Frames
Then, I just pinned them in the boxes and let their charm and beauty speak for themselves.

I used some twine and mini-clothes pins to display three of the valentines.

All you need for some shadow box fun.

I tied a knot on each end of the twine to make a little clothesline.

Then, I clothespinned  each valentine on the twine and closed up the shadow box.

The whole process of sticking the valentines in the frame couldn't be easier.

But, I'm nuts about the end result.

Frame vintage cards

Frame antique valentine

As you can tell, by now my grandfather's valentines are framed all over the house.  They make me happy.  They make me feel connected to him.  They make me feel, well, like asking my grandpa to be my Valentine this year. (I hope Dorothy won't mind.) 

Be mine, 

Note from Mrs. Gosling:  I am blushing just thinking about how special those Valentine's were for your Grandfather.  I love the simplistic way that you displayed them, drawing the attention to ... well, the Valentine.  It's so fun looking at the faces of the ladies (especially Mrs. Winky Eyes)!!!  I know that they bring a smile to your face every time you pass them.  I also know a couple other boys that would be willing to accept your Valentine proposal!  Thanks for sharing!

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  Those are amazing.  I like how poetic the vintage notes are..."That heart I'll give to thee."  Love how you have displayed them.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...