Author Archives: jillybeanjohnson

More Garage Sale Treasures

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Over the weekend we started weeding out Aunt Sheila’s garage sale stuff.  For those of you who don’t know, our Aunt Sheila passed away on July 4th.  I posted about her earlier in my Trash to Treasure post.

Aunt Sheila

I snagged quite a few things.  Take a peek:

Jilly Bean’s Treasures

The nutcrackers in back are for Halloween.  I don’t go for witches and ghosts and all that stuff, but these are a scarecrow, Frankenstein (stine?), and a vampire.  The milk crate was actually carried by someone we knew (Ted, for those of you who remember him).  The little yellow dish matches a bunch of stuff I already have and the books in back were a steal from the Crystal Library as in “However many you can stuff in a bag for three dollars.”  Oh yeah, and there’s a little pushy-up scarecrow in the bunch, too, if you can find him.

Which leaves the two 7-up elves–Sparkly and Parkly.  Who needs to buy a thirty dollar Elf-on-a-Shelf for Christmas when you have Sparkly and Parkly?  Actually, Parkly was originally a Sparkly but his “S” fell off and he couldn’t be sold.  So when I grabbed Sparkly, Parkly was thrown in for free.  Now just for a heads up (not a 7-up!), Sparkly and Parkly will probably be getting into some mischief around December.  But I’m not sure–will Sparkly do good things and Parkly do bad things, or will they do good and bad things together as a team?  I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.

Finally, Jilly Bean turned 51 last week.  It was great because I saved the candles from the kids 15th birthday last January and just switched the numbers around and used them on my cake.  And yes, when The Husband turns 61 in December, I will be able to repurpose the candles in January for the kids’ 16th birthday!

Oops! I should have had them write “Happy Birthday Jilly Bean!”

Tomorrow I will be unpacking more boxes in my classroom.  Hope to get them all opened and everything put away by Friday.  Check back here later!

Jilly Bean

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Prison Bars and a Peek at Fall

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You are probably wondering about the title of this post.  Maybe you’re thinking I’m in jail, looking through the bars at the leaves changing color in July.  Doesn’t make sense at all.  Or maybe you’re thinking I’m looking ahead to fall with the anticipation of being in jail.  Nope.

I’ll explain the first part first.  It’s always good to start at the beginning 😉

These are Prison Bars:

Why are they called “Prison Bars”?  The name was created almost 20 years ago when the husband and a bunch of guys from South Church went to play softball against a bunch of prison inmates as an outreach ministry.  Besides getting called “Cheeseburger” and “Lollipop” by the inmates, the prison guards got in on the act and took it upon themselves to do the not-so-nice thing of stealing the Social Security numbers the guys had to provide to get clearance into the prison.  You and I know it as “Identify Theft.”  They sold these numbers to the inmates as they were released from prison so they could go out and rack up debt in our names. Many of us are still cleaning up that mess today, as in “No, we never lived on Mack Street in Detroit, let alone have a phone there!”  Anyhow, I made these brownies for the guys to eat in the van to and from the prison, hence the name “Prison Bars.”

Originally called “Chocolate Nut Brownies” (b-o-r-i-n-g),  I decided to take out the nuts and change the name.  The recipe came from an ad in a magazine for Hershey’s Chocolate Chips and Borden’s Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk. Here’s the recipe:

1 (12 oz) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1/4 cup butter

2 cups Bisquick

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350;  in a large saucepan, over low heat, melt 1 cup chips with the butter; remove from heat.  Add in Bisquick, sweetened condensed milk, egg, and vanilla.  Stir in remaining chips.  Turn into a well-greased 13×9-inch baking pan.  Bake 25 minutes or until bars begin to pull away from the sides of pan.  Cool.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Cut into bars.  Store tightly covered.

These are great because they can be made in one pan on top of the stove.  Even Andrew thought it was easy:

Andrew thinking bars are easy to make

So now for the “Peek at Fall” part of the post.  This is what  found while out for my walk last night:

The First Leaf of Fall

Not to worry.  Jilly Bean has lots of fun things planned for August before she even begins to think about s-c-h……………………..

Now quick get to the kitchen and make some Prison Bars!

Jilly Bean

Can This Room Be Saved?

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In just a few short weeks, I will be on a race to beat the clock/calendar transforming this room into a place that will be my new home away from home.

Here’s another view.  Don’t worry about the crutches–they’re gone.

The contents of this classroom are ten miles on the other side of town.  The parking lot of this school is torn up, making it impossible to deliver anything, let alone countless boxes and a ton of bookcases.

Somehow it will all be taken care of, and on September 4th me and lots of kiddies will be hanging out here for most of our waking hours.  I will be posting the progress once THE MOVE has taken place.  I guess some pictures of THE MOVE would be appropriate as well!

Jilly Bean

Trash to Treasure: Happy Birthday Edition

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No, it’s not Jilly Bean’s birthday.  Yet.  However, my dear friend Vanessa recently celebrated her birthday but this year refrained from celebrating it “Christmas in July” style.  (We usually have a Christmas party at Vanessa’s on her birthday).

Several weeks before her birthday, I was at a yard sale and grabbed these picture frames for a very good price, unaware that they were solid oak!  My plan was to make her a chalkboard for her house.  Every house needs a chalkboard!

Boring-looking picture frames.

It may be hard to see from this picture, but I roughed them up a bit with some sand paper.  The husband said I’d be glad I did.  After that, he began spray painting the frames.  Did I mention the paint had to dry 48 hours before you could put on a second coat?  Waiting was NOT fun; however, look at the finished product:

Vanessa and her new chalkboard!

FYI, that’s plywood painted with chalkboard paint inserted into the frame.  Doesn’t she look happy?

Jilly Bean

In the Kitchen With Jacklyn and Eliana

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Love, love, love it when Jacklyn’s friend Eliana comes over.   When these two get together, they always grab some cookbooks and head for the kitchen.  This time Jacklyn wanted to show Eliana how to make something we’d made before from The Domestic Rebel.  They were these delicious Cotton Candy Bars using Duncan Hines new Frosting Creations mix in Cotton Candy.  They have a bazillion different flavors and so far I’ve only been able to find them at Kroger.

You can find the recipe for the Cotton Candy Bars here.

Maybe you’re not into eating things that are blue; however, Eliana’s mom DOES NOT EAT SWEETS, but she ate these!  LOTS of these.  Here are a few pics of the process:

Aren’t they cute?  When they came out of the oven, Jacklyn put Eliana to work frosting these babies:

Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the finished product.  They disappeared pretty quickly.

I can’t wait until Eliana comes over again!

Jilly Bean

Jilly Bean is Back!

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Sorry to the five of you who faithfully follow this blog.  Since you last visited I have been assigned a new teaching position at a new building, packed up my entire classroom and moved it to the gym where it is sitting and waiting to be moved across town, had knee surgery, almost had my house catch on fire, went on vacation, and weathered a scary storm (sorry for the pun).  But then I just realized that the five of you who are reading this probably already know that!

Anyhow, here are some  pictures I thought you might like.  Pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION to the split rail fence behind the kids:

These are my kids and the next-door-neighbor kids.  They have spent every 4th of July together since birth.  They have posed in front of this fence every year.  Now take a look at how the fence looked the next morning:

A very strong (and scary!) storm whipped through about 2:30 the following morning.  But that’s not all that happened. Take a look at our neighbor’s yard two doors down:

Those are some giant uprooted trees!  I think they’re going to miss the really nice shade those trees provided.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that the sidewalk has lifted and the staircase and half of the deck are not what they used to be!

Stay tuned,

Jilly Bean

My Hero

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It is almost the end of the school year.  The kids in the classroom are bonkers and I am exhausted.

This little guy comes in my room every morning to give me a hug and say, “I love you!”  He is only four, but tells everyone he is in my class.  He even does homework.  By his outfit I can tell that on this particular morning, he came to save the day.  Take a look:

Spider Man St. Patrick’s Day Style

Don’t you just love the way he sports the shamrock on the chain?  Every teacher should have one of these little guys to call on when the going gets tough!

Jilly Bean