Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Evolution of a Pie...

Wish I could give y'all a slice!
click on pie to see it life~size

Being a newly married Air Force wife, stationed in a foreign country, meant one thing during the holidays: I must carry on the sacred food traditions, alone. Hands down, the most sacred for each of us, my husband and me, is the near holy status of the chocolate pie! In my family, Aunt Mary, knowledgeable on many topics, most certainly is the authority on chocolate pie. Jo Ann, my mother-in-law, was the expert pie maker for my husband's family. Aunt Mary's recipe was first followed, since Jo Ann's recipes were not of the written down variety. You know the sort, " Some of this, a little of that, after it thickens and looks like this, then do that!" Jo Ann was a wonderful cook, unfortunately living away, made her, "Watch what I do,” teaching style impossible for me to follow.

As time went by, I grew more confidant in the kitchen, so when the creek overflowed into our home, ruining the cookbook, Aunt Mary gave me as a new bride, I began experimenting with pie recipes, jotting down dates and notes by each, changing it up here and there, making it my own. When Jo Ann passed, I became the chocolate pie maker, for the family, along with that came her two, 10 inch, Pyrex pie pans. Pie making is sometimes stressful, like any holiday cooking, but mostly I find it peaceful. Chocolate pies from scratch won’t allow you to multitask, requiring you to slow down. Visiting and daydreaming are the only tasks that can be managed while rolling and pinching crust, measuring then continually stirring filling, or finally whipping meringue
, as you gradually stir in sugar.

Memories of my mother-in-law visit me, keeping me company as I stir the filling in her heavy pot, standing where she stood... I hear her voice, reminding us younger women not to tap our spoon so hard on the side of her cooker... letting the grand kids lick the spoon, twitching her nose for goodies hidden in the freezer for them...all the while background sounds of the past envelop me… the pressure cooker jiggling with pent up steam, doors slamming back and forth, and the muffled conversations coming from the living room. This Christmas, Nancy, my husband’s little sister, slowly savored a bite of my chocolate pie, then quietly proclaimed, “Lezlee, you’re a good pie maker,” and I thought, “So goes the evolution of a pie and family.”


Chocolate Pie Filling
(This makes 2, 10 inch pies)

4 1/2 cups sugar
6 heaping T of cocoa
6 T flour
9 T cornstarch
3/4 t salt
12 egg yolks ( whites used for meringue)
3 12oz cans evaporated milk
4 cups whole milk
6 T butter
3 t vanilla
2 1o inch baked pie crusts

Combine dry ingredients in heavy saucepan, combine then gradually stir in whisked egg yolks and milk . I use Jo Ann's old pressure cooker, because it is so heavy and thick the filling won't burn. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. I love to use an egg spatula to stir, because it is flat and scrapes the bottom and sides of the pan better. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter, stir well, then pour into baked pie shell. Top with meringue.

Pie Crust
(3- 9 inch or 2- 10 inch crusts)

2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups Crisco
1 t salt
1 cup flour
3/4 to 1 cup cold water

Combine 2 cups flour, Crisco, and salt. Blend until resembles coarse meal. Combine remaining cup of flour and water to make thick paste. Pour over flour and Crisco. Stir with fork or pastry blender until just moist. Bake until golden brown at 425*

(Tops 2- 10 inch pies)

9 egg whites
3/4 t cream of tar tar
1 cup of sugar

In a glass or metal mixing bowl beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until foamy, gradually add sugar while beating until stiff peaks form. Spoon on top of pie filling, being sure to seal to the edges, brown in the oven.

Enjoy! Lezlee

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's "Cloche" to Baby Time!

The food table

For this shower I chose to use my cloches as centerpieces... with baby pictures of my son and daughter-in-law, to make it personal...The large cloches set on a milk glass pedestals and I used vintage baby planters to fill them. This one decorated the sign-in table. I also made use of my milk glass on all the centerpieces.

The planters were used to hold items, too... at one shower, they were used as centerpieces... I have quite a collection of them.

Smaller cloches were centerpieces at each table... These were made by "marrying" a vase turned upside down, plate, and cheese dome. I used a couple of dots from a glue gun to make it sturdy, but not permanent, but glue dots work well, too.

Yummy personal cheesecakes on a cupcake stand from the dollar store... what is neat about this is that I have two stands which can be combined to hold 47 cupcakes... I used this for my brother's 50th birthday. I love versatility!

This piece has been revamped so many times... food,favors at weddings, programs, centerpieces, just name it, spray it, decorate it. Also, bought at the dollar store years ago...All throughout my blog I say Dollar Store... Maybe I should do an ad for them! lol

Another view of the spread....That is just raspberry pink lemonade. Everyone loves it as much as the more complex punches we've made, and oh so easy, refreshing, and economical!

  1. Diaper cake for the gift table, it got some height from a vase turned upside down, the base it a Wilton cake base with green tissue paper. It made it really stand out... at another shower I used real diapers, pinned together with diaper pins as the table cloth, since it was a diaper shower.

Vintage shoe with more pictures. Each cloche decorated with rub-ons and scrap book supplies.

Since the shower was right after school in the library, I didn't have the time to go as all out as I like to, but that is probably a good thing! 'Cause you know how gals like us can be!

A couple of years ago I volunteered to give a baby shower... after that I was unofficially elected to do them all. That was fine with me, because decorating for events is one of my passions. Working with young teachers, we have plenty of showers, so I am always thinking of a different theme and using what I have on hand, so that we can spend more on the gifts and food! This shower was special to me, because it also happened to be for my daughter-in-law. She is having a girl in February. It is their first and my second grand baby! I hope to post other decorating events, soon!

I'm joining a cloche party here...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Other Classroom...Panther Style

I made this with a transparency sheet ran through the printer.

CMC classroom Panther Style!!!Here we have pictures of past to present Panthers...Mrs. Dellis is on this wall, she taught many in this town, first grade, including me! We've tried to include pictures of those that teach here now, so the kids could see them back in the day! If anyone has copies they would like to post on the wall, please send them to me!

Jacob's old shoes, Beverly's wool cheerleader "M" from the 60's, and my knit track suit, circa 1974 (Don't think spandex had been invented!)

Even our stockings have Panther Paws!!!

The schedule background is wall paper, picked up for cheap, at a thrift store;Loved using it, because the lines made it soo easy to get it straight.

Bev used a Cricut to make CMC letters. Those things are amazing. Every nook and cranny is filled with Panther Pride!!!

When we move around a couple of years ago... We inherited this Panther!!! Newspaper clipping are added all through the year, then put in a scrap book to make room for next year's clippings. The framed pictures on either side is art work the students did.

FAMILY Pictures... The kids enjoy seeing them and so do I.

Hurdle above the door was bought at a garage sale for fifty cents!!!

I love old stuff and use this above my desk for a message board. Love the chippy green and white paint!!!

I picked this briefcase up at Goodwill, intending to take it apart to make something else, but decided it was in to good of shape, so now it is my desk organizer. Genuine top quality cowhide, what every Texas lady needs!!!

Great place to quickly stash confidential files I'm working on when a student comes in for help.

I love small details, such as these covered buttons, my daughter, Jodi made with ribbon we've used throughout the room.

My desk with shutter hard at work!

Antique sign-in desk for this room. Yes, I know we need to do some hemming. It was a quick fix to hide some REAL junk!!! Well, the tour is over; hope you enjoyed it. Go to this post if you want to see our other classroom. Go Panthers!!!

When shutter is on vacation...
~I make him get a summer job~  


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Americana Texas Classroom

This is our Panther mascot in our small courtyard...it was stuck behind a stage and all but forgotten when we rescued it...

I work at a Jr. High School as a teacher's aide and it just so happens the teacher is my sister... How cool is that! We have similar taste in decorating, so we have fun with our two classrooms. This one is mostly Texas and Americana themed and the other is Green and White with our Panther mascot... Pride in my country, state, and hometown school are a few things I learned when I went to school here years ago, and I want to instill some of that same sense of pride that comes from belonging to the students today.

Our courtyard with sprayed on snowflakes we used what was left after we made our die cuts as a stencil...material draped for curtain with stars to hold them.

This small tree was the home of a cardinal family all last spring and summer. It was so awesome for the kids and us to watch the Momma and Daddy build a nest, feed them, and teach them to fly. We had such an up close view; it was hard to get any work done most days and we worried about them when we had a storm, but they were snug as could be. It made me think about, "If God so loved the Sparrow..."

Of course, this is the room with the word wall from previous post

This book case was mildewed and in bad shape, but a little bleach and paint made it good as new. It has a peg board back so the cans with supplies hang on it. We love using pretty or unusual containers to hold supplies. I love that we get sunshine in our rooms...We have the best room.

This huge cabinet is screwed into the wall and wasn't exactly where we would've put it, so we made use of the dead space between it and the wall with a tension rod and curtain (same material as curtain), to hide some of our mess.

1940's Science book... the pictures are to die for...This is one of 3 nests the cardinals built, it had a tag from a students t-shirt and sweet and low packets in it! lol

A wasp nest picked up from outside... I love nature. Just look at how intricate their homes are! Proclaiming God's handiwork to me.

Our sign in table. It has really cute legs, sorry no picture...the mirror is from $ store, just rubbed some red paint on it, the framed picture is a postcard. It really doesn't take much money to decorate. if you use things a little differently.

The long sign is painted on a scrap piece of wood and shouts, "Don't Mess With Texas Women", I made it for us, because at the time 5 women were working in here! Coach Algood and his wife, who worked for our school district for years and years made the bluebonnet.

A Texas history project. The students had a whole list of facts for Texas that they put in a collage... I love collages.

My son Josh, free handed this. It hangs under the Texas flag. He is making us one for the American flag... He also makes beautiful signs with Bible verses...

Old Cd's above the computer center...I need to make a keyboard for here, too. The kids love this and hopefully it will peak their imagination on ways they can re-use cast-offs. Our classrooms are called Content Mastery Center, where students who need some extra help come to "Master the Content", so we're able to have a more relaxed, homey feel to our rooms. I worked in Head Start with the 3 and 4 years old for years and now my "babies" are coming through Jr. High, so I have a special bond with them... I will show the other room soon. Thanks, Lezlee

Joining in on A Glimpse of God


Sunday, January 3, 2010


In other words, use these words instead

I'm posting a few pictures of our two classrooms at the Jr. High where I work. Old keyboard and time card holder turned into a word wall file... The kids can go grab a card with a common word on it and replace it with a more descriptive word, think mini thesaurus. Also would be good for vocabulary words with definitions, job charts, etc. When I bought them for a dollar at Goodwill, someone in line wanted to know what I was going to do with them. I told her I wasn't sure, but they were just too cool. This classroom is Texas and Americana style. We've used antiques, re-purposed junk, and kids pictures to decorate...to me it teaches a real life way to save money, recycle and make things pretty, plus personal. 

Thanks, Lezlee

There are about 4 of each card, in case more students want help with the same word...

I used old keyboard letters with magnets on the back to label the Word Wall... I love that it is magnetic!!

I sold the other time card holder at the booth, I had. It was displayed with invitations, pictures, cards, magnets... I decided I would rather keep it, but when I went back to get it, already sold :(

Just made the cards, but it would be cool to use old time cards, too. Painted the retired keyboard red, since this is the Americana room, but left the holder industrial. 

This keyboard idea could be used in so many ways. I want to make the keyboarding teacher, who is also a coach one with the school colors. An upwards game works well for signs, too... just endless possibilities. I know that is beginning to be a theme of each post, but it is true just let your imagination soar... I want the kids at school to see the possibilities!

I'm joining the party!
504 MainPrior

This tickled me pink when the idea came to me, daydreaming during a meeting and tickles me pink when I see the kids use it.