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Today is the first day of school around here! 

Truth be told...I have never given my kid's school teachers a First Day of School Gift. 
We've given gifts for every other occasion and holiday and end-of-the-year...but never on the first day...I'm trying to think why not?
...maybe because I was a teacher and it wasn't something practiced at my school?
...maybe I was too stressed out teaching that the thought never crossed my mind?
...maybe I didn't want my kids' teachers thinking I was being too 'what's the word'
-pushy -over-the-top -crazy?   
Well, all of that has changed!  I'm not teaching, I'm home with my kids, I'm not stressed (kinda), I've seen tons of blog teacher gift inspiration, the kids' teachers already know what kind of a mom I am (can't go changing) and 'bonus' my kids wanted to help! Yay! 

My 4th grade son chose the big jumbo sunglasses to give his teacher...he thought they were funny. Maybe his teacher will find a use for them...
funky spirit day, character reading, prop box, science goggles?
Remember, it's the thought that counts...not the actual gift, right?!

Pop out a lense and trace around on a piece of white paper.
Cut out two lenses.

Write your message on the paper lenses.
We wrote:
It's going to be one BRIGHT year
being in your CLASS!

I used letter stickers to spell out BRIGHT and CLASS.

Push the paper lenses in behind the real lenses.  Tape if needed.
Add a little tag tied on with a scrap of ribbon.


Now, my 5th grade daughter was too cool for sunglasses. She wanted something different for her teacher.

She picked out this rubberband ball from Target.
Definitely cooler than sunglasses?!

We slipped the ball into a bright dotted cellophane bag.

Added a cute tag (spelling error and all) and tied it on with ribbon.
Tag reads:

Bouncing with excitement
to be in your class!

My 'cool' 5th grader with her teacher gift.

To say these kids were excited for the First Day of School
would be an understatement!

Have a great school year!

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Last week I shared this post over at BigD and Me.
Here it is again in case you missed it.
Painter's Tape Canvas Art

I know...I doesn't look like a kid made this!
 With just a tiny bit of supervision and guidance---
and lots of play time in between steps---
my 9 year old really made this!

He's very proud of himself, too!
(Unlike my 10 year old daughter who hides when she sees the camera
-- fearing that I might post a picture of her!)

See just how simple this is...

Start with a piece of canvas board. 
You can find canvas board at your local craft store or art supply place. 
Look for sales or use coupons, canvas can be a bit pricey!
We found this 10in x 20in. piece for half off.
(If I'd been smarter, I would have bought out their stock at those prices!)
Any size of canvas board will work.

Now choose your colors!
I chose brown for the lines and my current favorite decorating colors:
turquoise, leaf green, north sea blue
and white (somehow the white didn't get into the picture?)
Inexpensive acrylic craft paint works perfectly.
(Or use any leftover paint you may already have.)

Cover your area with newspapers.
Using a foam brush, paint (or have your child paint) the entire canvas board with the line color of your choice.
We used a brown velvet color.

Now, wait about 30 minutes (go play), then paint a second coat.
(We only did 2 coats, but I think 3 would have been a bit better.)

After the board is completely dry (or playtime is over), it's time to tape.
Use painter's tape to make straight line shapes on the board.
(We used 1 inch wide Scotch 3M Blue Painter's Tape.)

The only rule is to keep the tape straight, don't try to curve the tape.
Make squares, rectangles, triangles, funky 4-sided shapes, etc.
Some shapes can be small, others can be over-sized.

Once you're happy with the taped design, press tape firmly.
Get out the line paint color again and lightly paint another coat.
This time paint especially along the edges of the tape.
(You can skip this step, but you'll be sorry!  Trust me!)
This extra step allows no colors to bleed through the tape.

Go play for 30 minutes while the board is drying.
(My son specifically asked that I posted this picture of him with his twisty balloon battle gear!)
To see more of our twisty balloon adventures click here.

Okay, back to our project.
It's time to get out those pretty colors!
We used a paper plate and a different foam brush for each color.

There are only two rules for this step.

Rule 1) Do not put the same color next to each other.
(You don't want a green square up against a green triangle.  Mix them up.)

Rule 2)  Paint a little out of the lines onto the tape. 
(Yep, you get to go out of the lines!)
Let first coat dry, paint second coat, let dry.
If you are still seeing your line color through the paint, do a third color coat.

After everything is dry...It's time!  It's time!
It's time to peel off the tape and see your creation!
Look at those perfect lines!

Can you believe it?  It's so beautiful!
Display it on your mantle for all to see!
You'll need to start taking orders for family Christmas gifts, now!
Just so you don't think I'm some brillant crafting genius who thought this up myself...
This idea was um...borrowed from here.

My son attended art camp and came home with this creation.
I was completely blown away and had to know how he did this!
He loved teaching me all the steps...I'm just sharing the love!!  Enjoy!

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As promised, I've got another great crab recipe for you... 
If you missed the amazing crab cake recipe from last time, click here!
This linguine recipe is perfect to serve for company, since it's delicious
AND it can be done in advance...
gotta love that!
Baked Crab Linguine
3-4 cups fresh crab meat
8 oz. linguine, uncooked
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup white wine
1/2 low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated

Step 1:
Cook 8oz. of linguine.  Drain and set aside.

Step 2:
Saute 1/4 cup chopped onions in  1 Tablespoon of butter.

Step 3:
  Combine 1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
  1/4 cup water
3 T. flour
 1/8 tsp. black pepper
in a bowl and stir to mix.

Step 4:
  (Somehow I forgot to take a picture of this step?)
Add this broth mixture to the onions.
Cook over medium heat until thickened. 
Remove from heat. 


Step 5:
In a separate bowl, combine 3-4 cups fresh crab
(In my opinion more crab is always better! Can you see those fresh crab chunks of meat, oh yeah!)
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream. 
Mix gently. (Don't hurt the crab!)

Step 6:
Add the crab mixture to the warm broth mixture.
Mix well.

Step 7:
Add the cooked linguine to the broth and crab mixture.
Mix well.

Step 8:
Coat 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
Pour mixture into dish.
Top with 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Step 9: 
Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to bake.
OR...bake immediately

Step 10:
Bake uncovered at preheated 350 degree oven for 30-50 minutes or until hot throughout.
Serve warm with some sourdough bread and listen to your guests oooh and ahhh!
Serves 6-8 guests 

(Recipe courtesy of my 'amazing' mother-in-law who has taught me everything I know about cooking with fresh food from the sea!)

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When you catch fresh PNW crab straight from the ocean, click here,
you better have some good crab recipes! 

 I have tried many different crab cake recipes, but I always come back to this one time and time again!
This recipe is full of flavor, yet highlights the most important part of a crab cake--the crab!'s super simple!  Gotta love that!


1+ pound fresh crab (about 3+ cups)
1 cup mayo
1 egg beaten
1 cup panko crumbs
1-2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning (depending how strong you like it.)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
juice of lemon
salt and pepper (to taste)
butter (optional for frying)

Mix all ingredients together,


adding the fresh, 3++ cups of crab last.  Mix well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

  Form crab mixture into patties.


Place patties in a preheated pan with the melted butter.
Cook about 3 minutes on each side until... cakes are golden on all sides and warm throughout.

Can't you just smell these frying up on a hot griddle?
Dip these delicious morsels of heaven in your favorite seafood sauce.
Savor and repeat...Mmmm!

Click here for a yummy crab linguine!

Linking up to:  SerenityNow, J&MEyeCandy, CraftoManiac, HomeSavvyAtoZ, EmbellishingLife, SkiptoMyLou,StrictlyHomemade, GingerSnapCrafts, HouseOfHepworths,
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One of the reasons we love to spend summers on Camano Island (WA) is for the fresh, delicious crab!
Have you ever been crabbing in the Pacific Northwest waters? 
Take a look!

Here's the equipment you'll need PLUS a crabbing license, a boat and...

(most importantly) a buoy!
The buoy is your marker that has your name on it.
This tells other people that this is YOUR crab pot.
Drop your crab pot in waters about 50 feet or more.
Make sure you have plenty of rope for your buoy to float on top of the water.

Wait 12-24 hours or so... then head on back out in the waters to find your buoy.
Pull up your pot and...

Look, You've Got Crab!

Carefully take the crab out of the pot, holding onto the bottom of the shell.
Turn the crab over to see if it's a male.
Female crabs must be thrown back in the water.
(The male underside is narrow and pointy,  the female is rounded, of course.)

If it's a male, it needs to be measured.
This crab measurement tool shows how big the crab must be to keep (over 6-1/4"),
otherwise it goes back in the water to grow bigger.
This one is a keeper!

Throw the keepers in the bucket, we're taking them home!

Back on dry land, wearing gloves, the crab is um...crushed and gutted. 
(I'll spare you the details and pictures.)

An outdoor cooker is ready with boiling water.
Add crab to the boiling water.

Bring water back to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes.
Drain water from crab and serve with cracking tools and melted butter.

What an 'awesome' guy to cook up such a feast!
Mmmm, Heavenly!
Click here for the most delicious crab cakes ever!!

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