Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sydney's Famous Lemon Squares

Since high school, I've been known for my lemon squares. These bars are something I started to make  year round and are adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookies Cookies Cookies: Any-Day Treats cookbook.

Sydney's Famous Lemon Squares


1 stick of butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 lemons, zested and squeezed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Powdered Sugar for dusting

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees**

For the crust-

1. In a mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until softened.
2. Add sugar and beat until combined.
3. Add cup of flour and beat until it resembles fine crumbs (like a pie crust)
4. Press this mixture into an 8x8 baking dish or a pie pan.
5. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.

For the filling- Do this while the crust is baking.

6. In the same mixing bowl, beat eggs with the electric mixer until starting to get foamy.
7. Add sugar, flour, lemon zest and juice, baking powder, and salt.
8. Beat all ingredients for about 3 minutes, until it starts to thicken up a bit.
9. Pour mixture over the partially baked crust when it is finished in the oven.
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until it is slightly brown around the edges.

Let it cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, then dust with powdered sugar if desired. Cut into squares or wedges after 30 more minutes of cooling. Store in the refrigerator covered, or in air-tight container.

These lemon squares have been a family-favorite ever since I began baking them. They are an easy recipe for any new baker wanting to branch out from cookies or boxed cupcakes, or make a quick and easy treat for when the weather starts to warm up.

If you make these squares, let me know in the comments what you think!

-Sydney Liz

Friday, July 13, 2018

Getting Back to Blogging

Hi All,

I'm not sure who actually reads these posts, but with all of the changes currently happening, I want to start taking some time to start blogging again. Let's rewind for a bit with some important dates and things that have happened and things to come…

6/8/2018: Finished my first year of teaching. It was a crazy one, but one I'm sure I'll never forget.
6/30/2018: Got married to the man of my dreams and started the next chapter of our crazy adventure. Check out our hashtag (#rollingwiththepolings) if you want to see some great pictures from what we think was a perfect day!
7/2/2018: Left for the Bahamas on an awesome honeymoon. We had so much fun adventuring and relaxing in Nassau and at the new Baha Mar Resort.

We just returned home yesterday and now we're gearing up to close on and move into our forever home. I want this to be a place where I can document all the things to come, so I hope that I can stay consistent, posting at least once a week to this online scrapbook of our lives in this new chapter. In honor of this, I want participate in one of my favorite things to read, Five on Friday with Christina  and April (bear with me as I only have 3 for this week)!


Like I said, we just got married on June 30! The day was perfect for the both of us. It was a beautiful sunny day but boy was it hot! The heat index felt close to 100 I think. Needless to say, I didn't pick a dress that was right for the heat, but it was beautiful so I didn't care.
Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and wedding

Image may contain: 5 people, including Sydney Liz, people smiling, people standing, wedding and indoorTwo:

THE CARRIBEAN… OH. My. Goodness. We had a beautiful 10 days in the Bahamas staying at the Baha Mar Resort. This place just opened in the fall of 2017 and it was fantastic. While I will say it was a little more of a party than I was looking for on our honeymoon, it was beautifully done and no detail of the resort was overlooked. Rob and I enjoyed laying on the beach and in the water on these awesome rafts that were anchored so you wouldn't float away. I'm convinced that I owe these rafts at least 70% of my tan. The water was so clear and warm. It was a very nice and well needed break after the chaos of wedding planning.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Sydney Liz, people smiling, people standing, tree, plant, sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: sky, cloud, ocean, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: Sydney Liz, smiling, sunglasses, sky, outdoor and closeup

We're buying a house! We're just crazy enough that we added to the chaos of getting married to buy our forever home. Neither of us like moving and after having to do it so much recently, I'm grateful to know that the next time I move all of the boxes, it will hopefully be the last. Once we close, I'll post some pictures, but for now, here are some of my inspiration pictures for what to do with our living room.

Family Room Hunting Lodge Design, Pictures, Remodel, Decor and Ideas

Family Room Reveal - Making What You Have Work

Happy Weekending!

-Sydney Liz

Friday, January 26, 2018

Hanging on to Christmas with a Recipe

I intended to post this around Christmas time, but life got busy and just now is the first time I'm thinking about it. For years, my family and friends have always anticipated my Gingerbread cookies at Christmas time. At first, they were my moms, but since I was a teenager, they've become mine. It's not Christmas unless I make these cookies.

Since they're so loved by my family and friends, I wanted to share the recipe so that others can enjoy it as well.

Gingerbread Cookies 
1 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
4.5 cups flour (you won't use all of it)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
  2. Cream shortening and sugar in a mixing bowl until combined 
  3. Mix in the molasses 
  4. Mix in remaining ingredients (only about 3 and 1/2 cups of flour!) 
  5. Roll into two balls and cover with plastic wrap 
  6. Chill in fridge for about 2 hours or overnight 
  7. When you're ready to bake, flour your surface and roll a ball of dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. 
  8. Cut with cookie cutters and place on an uncreased baking sheet. 
  9. Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes (more like 10) and then let them cool on a drying rack. 
While most people decorate their cookies, I like to leave mine plain. They are cruchier than other Gingerbread cookies, so I think they go nicely with a cup of coffee or tea. 

These cookies have been such a long time favorite for me, that I hope they become the same for you and your family! 

-Sydney Liz 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Five on Friday

Today, I'm off to State College, PA for a little family reunion and the arts fest at Penn State (hoping it doesn't completely pour the whole time), but I wanted to link up with April, Christina, and Natasha for a little Five on Friday. I'd love to start making this more of a regular thing, so people, hold me accountable!

Anyway, lets get started with my Five on Friday!


Thursday night, I finally cooked dinner for myself for the first time in a few weeks #lazy, but I make the best roasted asparagus. I forgot to take a picture, but for anyone interested, here's what I did:


  • frozen asparagus (I got mine from Aldi, mainly because I never use fresh fast and it's just me) 
  • Olive Oil 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 420 degrees 
  2. Cover a baking pan in foil for easy clean up. Lay out however many pieces of asparagus that you want on the pan.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and toss a bit
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
  5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, moving around occasionally. 

This was so good, and so easy!


I am obsessed with tee-shirt dresses. I found one at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago and never wanted to take it off. Thankfully, Old Navy also has a bunch of cute ones, so I had to pick a few up two weeks ago when they were having the $8 dress sale.

Swing Dress (Here) fits loose

High Neck Swing Dress (Here) Fits loose (not too many sizes or colors left) 


I have had so many issues my my Galaxy S6 Edge.  I switched from an iPhone because I wanted a change, but now, I've had more problems with my phone than ever before. I'll be getting a new phone in a few months and want to know, should I get the Google Pixel or the iPhone 7? Any opinions or reviews of each? 


Over the past few months, I've fallen in love with podcasts. Right now, the only two I listen to mostly are The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and DAIS by Rachel Hollis of The Chic Site. Does anyone else listen to these and have suggestions for other podcasts similar? I wasn't a fan of Seriel so I'd like to stick more to like the "meet and greet" podcasts with different guests. 


I just have to share how beautiful Western PA can be in the summer. This was from last Sunday when we went out to a local park. My fiancĂ© wanted to fly his drone around so we rode out on his duel sport to a great park and found a beautiful area to fly it around it for a bit. What you don't see in this picture is that two seconds later, the battery ran out and it fell into the field with no way of figuring it out where it was (it is about the size of an adult hand) so we spent the next 10 minutes combing the field to look for it. 

Anyway, I'm off to State College and family time. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and Western PA finally dries out… maybe. 

-Sydney Liz 

Friday, May 5, 2017

How I Feel as I am About to Graduate

Today, I finished student teaching. Today, I finished my college career at Westminster College. Tuesday, I will start substitute teaching. Next Saturday, I graduate. At this stage in my life, everyone is asking "How you do feel?" or "Aren't you so sad that college is over?". My answer to any of these questions is "I feel great" and "No". Sure I'm anxious that I don't have a job for the fall yet. Sure I'll miss having people around all the time and the fact that I'm never alone. I've loved the last four years at Westminster. I've met some of the best people, I've taken classes taught by amazing faculty that have gone from professor to mentor, and I joined a sorority that will forever have an impact on my life. But…

I still have so much to look forward to. I have an apartment I'm moving into. I will start substitute teaching and will be on my own in the classroom, something I've wanted for forever. I am searching for my own classroom where I can teach children and do things "my way". I just got engaged and get to look forward to planning a wedding and a life with an amazing guy. How could I not be excited for all of the wonderful things that are to come for me?

So I wanted to blog about this stage in my life because I know that one day I will look back and want to remember what this time felt like. One day, I might have a daughter who is at this same point and wanted to know what Mom felt like when she was here. Or, this post might reach someone else who is at my same stage and feeling the same way, but feeling guilty that she doesn't think that the best four years of life are behind her and she's excited to see what the next chapter holds. I'm not wishing away my time until I graduate. I'm just saying that graduation day does not mean the end. It is only a beginning.

So to end this post, here are some of the amazing pictures that were taken from my engagement and the best birthday present ever.

-Sydney Liz

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Binder Cover Tutorial

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you've seen my binder covers for this fall. Making binder covers and other digital creations has become a passion of mine. While I'm not a Media Arts major, I have fun playing around with different fonts, clip art, and other such things. If you're interested in making some of these yourself but don't know where to begin, I'll share some of my tips! The screenshots I'm sharing are my property, using graphics and font I've found online from other sources.

To start, I never use Microsoft Word to design anything using pictures. I always use PowerPoint, due to the ease of movement on the program. You can easily rearrange graphics throughout the page, instead of having to reformat each time. 

Step 1: Open PowerPoint (I'm on a Mac, so my screen may look different than yours). 

Step 2: Reorient the page to portrait instead of the preset landscape orientation. On a Mac, you do this by going to the menus at the top of your screen, clicking on "file", then "page setup". This will bring you to the following pop up screen: 

Click on the picture of a vertical instead of horizontal slide, then click "ok". 

Step 3: Find the picture or border you want to use. I've done chalkboard backgrounds, a fun border and clipart found on Teachers Pay Teachers, or found a border I liked on Google. If you find it on Google, I just copy and paste to the slide and resize to fit the slide. If you download something, go to the menu at the top of the screen and click on "insert", "photo", and "picture from file". 

Step 4: Send photo to back. Doing this will bring the text boxes forward. I leave my text boxes in the preset title page position. To send the photo to back, click on the slide, making sure the photo is outlined, then click "format picture", "reorder", and "send to back". 

Step 5: Type in the title you want on your binder cover in the text box. I like to put the name of my class in the larger box and either a sub-heading or my name in the smaller box. I also make sure the font colors match. You can change the font to whatever you'd like, but I like to use fonts I've downloaded from Teachers Pay Teachers (Cara Carroll's fonts are great, and I've bought a licensed set for products I post on there). 

From here, you can print the covers and enjoy! Make sure you print one slide per page to make the cover! 

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment or email me!

Happy decorating!

-Sydney Liz 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Alaska Pt. 2

This is the second post of a recap of my Alaska trip! Finally!! Summer tends to get away from me, full of work, travels, and pool time. So, here we are! 
 The above photo is from Portage Glacier, in the Chugach National Forest, just south of Anchorage. This is where we spent two days with a grad student and faculty member from the University of Alaska Anchorage. While here, we learned how they look for bats and identify the different species, since bats are relatively new to Alaska. We also learned about how they look for and trap different aquatic species, looking for different organisms in the streams around here.
 On Monday afternoon, we also hiked to a glacier in the park, where we were able to walk on the permanent snow fields! If you come out here in August, you would still be on snow! It was definitely a cool experience.
 Wednesday, we had a unexpectedly free day, so we spent our morning hiking Flattop, the local favorite for an "easy" hike in Anchorage. As you can see from the above picture, you're pretty much on the top of a mountain overlooking the city and the bay beyond. The first part of the hike is relatively easy and much like a hike you would find around Pennsylvania. Then, we began the second half of the hike, heading up to the top. Here, it became more of a climb, heading up over large boulders and scrambling to the top. But I'm so glad I made it to the top! It was a huge accomplishment, one that I am extremely proud of. Now, going back down was a bit tricky, but here I am so I obviously made it down!
 Above is another photo of the top of the mountain. It truly is flat up there!
 Now, this photo above might just be my favorite of the whole trip. This is out the window of a four-seater plane piloted by a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Anchorage. He was gracious enough to take all of us up in groups, and I was the final group on Wednesday. This view of the sunset was amazing! Not to mention our pilot was one of the kindest, funniest men I think I've ever met. He loves to fly and got into it when he worked in aviation law, but his daughters and wife don't enjoy flying as much, so he loved the chance to take a bunch of excited college students up in the air.
 Here's his hanger. It looked like the ultimate man cave!
 On  Thursday, we headed north to the interior of Alaska and the weather started to heat up! We stopped in Palmer, where we square danced with a troup and I had the honor of singing some of the calls. Then, we visited a recycling facility. Being in Alaska makes recycling a little hard, since they have to send the recycled materials to the lower 48, so they want the highest bid!
Also during this time, we spent 2 days in Willow, the start of the Iditarod. We were there to help replant trees in the area after a devastating forest fire the year before. It was heartbreaking to hear these families stories of the fire, but I'm so grateful that we were able to help with the replanting process. We met so many wonderful people (and sled dogs!), so I'm so glad we were able to serve in this community.
 You can see Denali peaking out above the trees in the picture. It's a view as we were driving toward the park, but we were still about 200 miles away!
 Once we made it to Denali, I was so excited. Truth be told, this was the part of the trip I was most looking forward to. We stayed in the most beautiful cabin there. If you're looking for somewhere near the park, the McKinley Cabins and the the Carlo home are wonderful! It was a great treat after sleeping in cramped quarters and on church floors on air mattresses. It felt like being pampered and was fantastic.
The photo above was in the park. We went on a short hike from the visitors center before our bus tour out into the park. If you are planning a trip to the park, the bus tours are definitely the way to see the park, especially if you only have one day as we did. We had the morning to explore the visitors center (With lots of information about Alaska and how the park came about, including why you see Doll Sheep on the park logo), then we went out as far as you can in the park, without the back country hiking permits. We saw so much wildlife! Since I was taking photos on my phone, I didn't get the best picture of the animals, but I have a few of the scenery. It's amazing how much the scenery changes as you go. It goes from pine forest, to more sparse trees, to tundra in a matter of miles. Truly amazing. And windy.
 The buses drive on very narrow, winding roads up the mountainside. It can be very scary at times, but it was a lot of fun!
 After driving back to Anchorage, we had one last day to relax and eat at Moose Tooth, a great Pizza restaurant in the city. I would recommend it to anyone who is visiting! Good food and a great local place.
Before heading to the airport, we had some time, so the pastor of First Presbyterian in Anchorage invited us to his house for s'mores, then took us out to a park by the bay, built on top of a landfill. If he had never told us, I wouldn't have even known. This picture perfectly sums up the trip. Breathtaking, beautiful, full of wonder and awe, and the sun never set.

I know I've missed things and details, but I just want to say thank you to everyone who made this trip possible, and to all those who went on this trip with me. I went in not really being that close to anyone, and came away with new friendships and memories that I won't forget for a lifetime. So thank you for giving me a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience. I hope these blog posts help us to look back and remember this time for years to come.

-Sydney Liz