Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Sunday thought... From the Classroom

I have been away from my classroom - my home away from home - for a little over a week now. No alarm clock. No sack lunch. No lessons to plan. No papers to grade. No students - that's the yucky part. I had 185 of the greatest teenagers this year, and I miss them already. The school year was fabulous. Never once did I dread walking through the doors. Sure, there were days I could have used a few extra hours of sleep and I might have been grumpy, but as soon as the kids show up, things get good. I want to share one of the many ways they demonstrated just how super they were.

Late in the school year, a dog brutally attacked a child in our school zone. He happened to have the same last name as me. My students and I took it upon ourselves to do something for him and his family. So for two days they brought in donations. Here are the day 1 totals by class:

Can you believe that?! At the end of day 2, they had donated about $430.00 for the family. To say I'm still proud of their generosity is an understatement.

Teenagers are extraordinary people. Like all of us, they simply need/want to be acknowledged, appreciated, and loved. Think about how simple that is. Think about what a small amount of time it takes to simply acknowledge and express appreciation for someone. Sometimes formulating a sentence is all you need to do to make a day and let someone know you care.

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

1 Timothy 4:12


Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday fun find...

I tried not to bring these home with me, but I didn't try hard enough.

I love a black and white combination in just about anything.

Ross opened in our city a few years ago in a shopping center I don't stop by very often. But, when I do, I go in Ross and seem to always find a little something. They have great kitchen gadgets and decorative household items - like these bowls - and great prices. All three of these were less than $12.

I have an idea for how I want to use them. If it comes to fruition, I'll let you know!

Have a great weekend...


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Inspiration House - a review

If you are a new reader (WELCOME to Woodbank Lane!) or just in case you missed one, here is a review of the Inspiration Houses I've had the pleasure of stopping by. A big thank you to all my talented decorating friends - new and old - who've allowed me into their homes. I think you'll find there's a little inspiration here for everyone's style. Click on the title, and be inspired...

Comment below and tell us which one you like. Which number is closest to your style?


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheese Cake

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend filled with friends and family. Today I have a recipe from my mom's kitchen. I remember her making it a lot for us growing up. I haven't had it in forever. I was looking through an old Southern Living Annual Recipes cookbook, and the recipe card fell out. I decided it was a sign that I should share it with you. I hope you like it as much as we did!


2 - 8 oz bars of cream cheese
2 packages of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies (in the roll)
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs

Grease the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice 1 package of the cookie dough into thin slices, probably about 1/3 of an inch thick.

Line the bottom of the pan with the sliced cookies.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and the eggs. Spread the combined ingredients over the cookies.

Sprinkle with the pecans.

Slice the other package of cookies. Place the slices on top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the tops are browned (these might be a little too brown). Cool and cut into squares.

Grab a tall glass of milk and dig in!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Last year's lilies...

I'm still patiently waiting on this year's blooms - not quite time for them yet. So I thought I would show you last year's loot while we wait. All of these were transplanted from my grandmother's flower bed the year after we moved into our house. Needless to say, they're special to me. If you need some for your own bed, feel free to come dig some up. They multiply like crazy, and they're taking over!

It's officially summer vacation now! Yesterday was the last day of the 2015 school year - my 18th year of teaching. Hope you have a great Saturday.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Inspiration House #5

Last year during spring break, we made a quick trip to Chattanooga. We had never been, and the proximity to our hometown made it a perfect destination for a three-day, two-night get away. Scrolling to find a photo I needed for a future blog post, I came across the pictures from the trip. Today I'm sharing the house we rented. We found it on the VRBO site for Chattanooga. I took a few shots on my phone as we were leaving, not knowing that in a year I would be blogging about pretty places, or I certainly would have used my good camera. It's a beautiful place and there was plenty of inspiration - the colors, the light fixtures, the furniture, the bedding - I liked it all.

The kitchen - the natural light in the house might be what I liked the most.

Clean, simple lines.

Across from the kitchen there was a sitting area with a large chaise. Lots of texture in the pillows and the throw. Inviting...

Pillow arranging by me before we checked out :-) I don't have good pictures of the art work, but there were several unique pieces like the one here. The owner is an artist - the abstracts are her original work.

The two bedrooms were upstairs. This is the master. That bed...

Work area to the left of the room.

Neutrals and earth tones were used throughout the house.

The bedroom was open to the living space below.

Love the light fixtures. Remember, don't judge my pictures. I had no idea at the time I'd be writing a blog post about this house one day!

Second bedroom.

Top of stairs.

Street view.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and saw an idea or two you could use in your own home. A big thank you to Jo Beth Kavanaugh for sharing her house with us. Her homes have been on HGTV, and she has been featured in Southern Living. Her eclectic style mixes the new and old with modern and contemporary - makes for a peaceful escape. You can rent this house and see more detailed pictures here.

As always, thanks for reading! Have you visited Chattanooga? Leave a comment about your trip below...

Hope it's a great Memorial Day weekend for you!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Chicken and Dumpling Casserole

We love chicken and dumplings at our house, but it takes so long to make a homemade pot. Here's a recipe you can put together quickly and feel like you're (almost) eating the real thing.


1 stick of melted butter
4/5 boneless chicken breast boiled
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 cup of milk
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 cups of chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil and chop up the chicken breast. Lightly spray the bottom of a 13x9 dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the dish with the chicken. Pour the melted butter over the chicken.

Combine the flour and the milk. Mix (I whisk) well. 

Pour this over the chicken and butter.

Combine the cream of chicken soup and the chicken broth. This can of broth is 14.5 ounces, just shy of the 2 cups it calls for. This is all I use, but you can save a little of the left over broth from cooking the chicken and add it. Once combined, pour over the chicken.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. We like ours pretty brown on top, so I usually cook it about 15 minutes longer. The longer it cooks, the more crust-like the top becomes. It will have liquid in it when it comes out, so don't think it's not ready. Add just about any side and a roll, and you'll have your next favorite meal.

Two more days of school!!! Do I sound happy about that?


Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Sunday thought... Rest Up

"Sunday, a Day of Rest"

This is an entry from James Dobson's book Home with a Heart, published almost twenty years ago. It's a short reminder that on Sunday, we have permission to slow down and breathe a little.

"Remember when the world seemed to slow down on Sundays?

Monday through Friday were for work and school. Saturday was for chores. And Sunday...well, Sunday was a quieter day when things geared down for the world to catch its breath. But with the passage of time, Sunday began to lose its significance. Now we huff and puff seven days a week, hurtling down the road toward burnout or even and early demise. I'd like to make a case once more for setting aside one day per week for rest, relaxation, and worship.

I've recently been privileged to spend some time with Truett Cathy, the founder and CEO of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant corporation. When he began his business in the 1950's, he determined that he would close all of his stores on Sunday, regardless of the circumstances. Then it was an accepted practice. Now it's extremely unusual, especially for a restaurant chain with many outlets in malls. To this day, Cathy has never wavered from his commitment. He told me he believes Sunday is a special day, a day set apart from the rest of the week.

Sound old-fashioned? Well, perhaps. But maybe it's one traditional idea that still has a place today..." 

It seems to have worked for Chick-Fil-A. Maybe today we can take a little time to slow ourselves down, rest a bit, and make it a special Sunday.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Today I'm sharing a recipe with the word chocolate in the title, so you know it's going to be good! Try this one as soon as you can, if you're a chocolate fan. It comes with an added bonus - your kitchen will smell out of this world for the entire day.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

1 Pillsbury yellow cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
1 small box of instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of oil
3/4 cup of water
4 large eggs
8 oz sour cream
1 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan well. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, and sugar.

Add all the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and mix.

Now fold in the mini chocolate chips and mix again.

Pour the mixture into the bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

After about 10 minutes of cooling time, I give it a little wiggle to loosen it from the sides. Allow it to cool for about 20-30 minutes before unmolding and dumping onto a cake plate.

This might be my favorite chocolate cake. It stays fresh for days, if it stays around for days.  :-)

I hope it's a great Saturday for you.