Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Those Girls

I've never been one of those girls... you know the ones who look cute the moment they step out of the shower, or after a long, hot day working or playing outdoors. The ones who literally throw their hair up, unbrushed, in a bun or top-knot simply by looping a hair tie around a few times, the ones who put no makeup on, none at all, and still manage to look like some kind of cosmetics ad.

I like to think that maybe those girls only exist in the movies, but of course you see them from time to time at the gym, the lake, the pool... {Seriously, you just went tubing. Your hair whipped around your face in the wind and the waves, and you still look that good? What's wrong with me!?}.  Shoot, after an 8 to 9-hour day at work (inside with air conditioning) my make-up needs to be, though it probably won't be, completely redone if I plan on going out. And my hair will have fallen even flatter than it was when I left the house that morning. It might be better if I actually knew how to do that stuff remotely well, but so far, no dice.

This past weekend, J and I took Friday off work and headed up north for a long-weekend of camping, boating, and quality couple time. It was fabulous! Our campsite was RIGHT on the water, and every night while we sat by the fire pit and had dinner, we got to watch the sun set. Best camping trip ever, hands down. I will post some pictures later.

But, I noticed something while we were camping that weekend... those girls were everywhere!!

Those girls, in their hot-girl disguises, primping in the bathrooms, walking strutting around in cute outfits, wearing eyeliner and cutesy hair-do's, and too much jewelry to have just slept in a tent or with 18 (ok, maybe like 5) people crowded into a camper. To be honest, most of them were of the high school and college age-groups. And, yes, I'm being a tad sarcastic about this topic. But, still.

Who brings their hot-girl disguises to a camp ground!?

What are you doing?! You just slept in a tent. And you're not too sleepy to wake up, shower, and get your hair did before the bathrooms are closed for cleaning at 8:30? You really want sunscreen and bug spray on that outfit? How many outfits did you bring, anyway? Who does your laundry? Your eyeliner isn't going to turn into raccoon eyes in this heat? You think those 2" hoop earrings are a little much, considering the venue for today's activities?

Here are my favorite one-liners that I overheard this weekend...
"Honey, will you go get Mommy's flat iron from the green bag? I left it on the picnic table."
{Apparently, it starts early...}

"Shoot, my bronzer is broken!"
{Since you need it while you're on the boat all day?}

"I think I'm going to wear my white shorts and floral tank... but I'm not sure."
{Understandable. I'd be weary about wearing white shorts, too, if the risks of grass, dirt, and other outdoor stains were this great.}

I honestly felt awkward stumbling into the bathroom at 8:00 am with all these chicks putting their faces on... And it got me thinking: I've only been married for TWO years! Have I already let myself go?? J assured me that was a no, but I guess my insecurities can still get the best of me.  To be fair, J was the one who suggested I not bring any hair tools and minimal makeup, "just in case you felt like you needed it, not that you'd have to use it." So, all I had with me was a brush, hair ties, bobby pins, and foundation. Sure, it might have been because he didn't want to be stuck alone, waiting for me, while I took an hour to get ready to go on the boat or something. But, considering he was the one who stripped me of the necessary products and tools, J only had himself to blame if I wasn't up to par.  Thankfully he's wonderful and made me feel beautiful anyway. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It - Summer School Classroom :)

It's about time I did another teachery post!!

Right now I'm teaching a summer math class for 15 students in the 3rd and 4th grades. I'm very excited about it... but it's such a tease!!  I just can't wait to have a class of my own for longer than 5 weeks... hiring season isn't over yet, so I'm still hopeful!

At the very least, this summer school job is a wonderful learning experience to prepare me for when I finally find my home. :)

Enjoy these poorly taken cell-phone pics of my Summer School Classroom :)

Hopefully you can see them all, if not and you have a question, leave a comment!

Classroom Norms

Story/Word Problems Anchor Chart ~ My coworker, Cindy, and I decided on this procedure last yeah, and she wrote it for us to display.

I know already showed you these pencil cups, but I just wanted you to see them in action. So far, I love them. :)

This is my rotations board... Inspired by this one from Fun in Room 4B. I'm enlarging it in the hopes you'll actually be able to read it lol.

The two charts at the bottom show the students in each group, and when some of the students get pulled for some small-group reading.

I have 4 groups, I just named them Group A, B, C & D. I know, soooo creative, right?!

There are 4 stations... M.A.T.H.

Math Facts (anything that focuses on practicing math facts and fact fluency at the students' grade level)
At Your Seat (worksheets, ind. practice) - anything not finished while at this station is homework for my class because we only meet 1/2 a day and there's no time to make things up. Obviously,you could do it differently if you liked.
Teacher's Choice (small group instruction or any activity of my choice).
Hands On (any hands-on, interactive activity... creating some kind of project, utilizing technology, etc.).

I cut up a $1 pocket chart from Target's Dollar Spot (LOVE!) into fourths, left the white cardboard stuck in, and I write the activity for each station on the plastic with a dry-erase marker. Works like a charm. Sometimes there is only 1 activity, somethimes they can choose between two, sometimes they have to do both! Do what's best for you and your class. :)

If you need more than 4 rotations or need to make more groups, you can do a variation of this and make the stations more specific... like math with technology; seat work; meet with teacher; hands on math; math facts; math game/partner math; math by yourself... etc. But, I thought only having the 4 would be easier to find things to do that fit with the category! Haha.

What To Do When You're Done center... for those kids that finish first and bug you about what they should do next.

I've got assorted flash cards and fact cards in the basket, which is from Target $1 spot last year. My flash cards consist of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, sight word flashcards, and other grade level flash cards in the ELA category, as well as informational fact cards from Target $1 spot (I have 3 packs... space, animals and the US States. Target has others, too!).

I have informational magazines in the boxes, which are labeled with the titles... I may or may not change those up after a while. The sign above says... "Flash cards ~ quiz yourself or a partner who is also finished with the assignment; Info Cards ~ Learn something new!; Read-to-self ~ Choose one of the available magazines or books."

This station is already a life saver, because most of my students will distract others and themselves if they're done early.

Have the kids highlight their names before they turn in papers = no more no name papers! Yay!! After getting 8 no-namers on the FIRST DAY I decided this station was a must.

Find the cute sign here: Teaching In Flip Flops

When the kids "Fill My Bucket" to the brim (class reward), they choose a teacher's treat.... AKA - crazy hair day, class game, free choice time, pj day, etc.

It's just an empty Crystal Light container + colored computer paper + mod podge + a cutesy label.

Multiplication Soccer Ball Toss Game -- Write numbers 1-12 on a small (or large) soccer ball. Whatever numbers your pointer fingers land on are the numbers that make up the fact you say aloud... i.e. your fingers land on 12 & 2, student says 12 x 2 = 24. In the extra spaces I added repeats of 3-9. Could be done for adding, too.

Multiplication Cube Toss Game -- Ice cube trays from Target $1 Spot, write #s 0-12 on little sticky labels & stick em inside in a random order, & get 2 Base-10 unit cubes (or something like them). In the extra spaces I added repeats of 3-9. Use a recording sheet to monitor. The kids looooved this!!!


2-3 Digit Addition Cube Toss -- See explanation above, except I did one tray counting by 10s up to 180, and then used random 2-dig numbers in the other tray. You could use an addition or subtraction recording form for this one, but right now we're doing addition. :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Socializing

Link. it. up.
Sunday Social
1. What is your dream job?
Teaching 5th grade, all subjects. Or 4th grade. Or 6th grade. Whatever grade is the top of the elementary school. I love upper-elementary... love it!
It depends on my phase in life, though... like, if I were a parent, I'd ideally want to job share or be part time, if I could afford it, so I could spend more time with my family.
2. If you had just won the lottery and didn't need to work for money, what would you do with your time?
I'd read, travel, spend time with family and friends. I'd like to learn to cook and bake more things, decorate my house, make crafty things and become one of those DIY people who have stores on Etsy.
I think I might teach part time.... or work as a para. Definitely not full time, though.
3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The realistic job? A teacher. Fantasy job? An actress or singer. Typical girl... you know. lol.
4. What piece of career advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?

Shoot. I dunno... Do your best in the classroom and get to know your co-workers and administrators. This is really hard for me... I'm a very awkward person and I suck at small-talk.

5. Biggest Pet Peeves either in life or in blogging or at work

Hmmm... people who lack common courtesy. People who let others do all the work.

6. Biggest Fears

Never getting a job. Losing loved ones. Spiders. Needles. Drowning. I'm afraid of a lot of things...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Veggie Skewers

I made a yummy dinner for our friends Friday night! Veggie skewers & burgers on the grill. And they were so good!! Oooh OOOO!

I always feel so accomplished when I cook something that other people like.

The veggies pre-grilling... they're on a white plate, not just on the table lol.

Veggie Skewers

(Serves 4-6)

1. Chop up assorted veggies of you preference into large-bite sized pieces. I used mushrooms (sliced in half), 1 red onion, 1 tomato, and 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 orange pepper. While you do this, soak the skewers in water for a couple minutes.  This will prevent them from burning later on the grill. 

2. Put them on skewers. I found mine in the grilling section of you grocery store. Be careful with the softer veggies... some of my mushrooms fell apart a bit. 

3. In a small bowl, mix together your marinade... I used 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp garlic, 1 tsp salt, & 1 tsp pepper. It was delish. 

4. Arrange the veggie skewers on a plate.

5. Drizzle the marinade over the veggies, or use a cooking brush. 

6. Allow them to sit with the marinate on for at least 20 mins. 

7. Grill over medium-low heat, not directly over the flame, until veggies are cooked through. 

* One problem we used to run into is that the ends of the wooden skewers often burn.  You can avoid this by soaking the skewers in water for a couple minutes. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

TWO cool things

Two cool things...

Number one...

I won a giveaway from Yours Truly!!!

Check out her blog. I love it!

Thank you, Jenna!!!! I am SOOO excited to try this eyeliner! And I am also excited to use that giftcard. Love Target!



And number two...

I also won a giveaway from Emily at Life, Etc.

Wanna know what I won??


Now, isn't that an amazing giveaway?!? I am so so so so excited. :)

You should really follow Emily's blog though... it's a good one!

I've honestly never been a lucky person, like I never win raffles or drawings. My team never made it to finals. Shoot, the one time I played an organized sport (softball... I was a smidge better than not very good) we were the lowest ranking team of the whole group, haha. And I've only ever surpassed the $5 mark on scratch-off lotto tickets maybe once...  the bloggy gods must like me!

Don't worry, I'll be passing on the bloggy love soon... I'm almost to 75 followers and I'm in the process of planning a giveaway to celebrate! Stay tuned! ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weirdest. Dream. Ever.… Aaaand Spider Night Terrors

I didn’t sleep very well last night.

Probably because, last night, I dreamt that I was in a large building of some sort that had a large parking lot and we were being attacked by monster/dinosaur lizards… except they were small.

Like mini-velociraptors or something. 

It was so bizarre…

I’m pretty sure I got the idea either from a) The Amazing Spiderman {I saw it Sunday and the villain is a giant lizard-man} or b) the Barney doll that my niece had at my grandpa’s house. I’m guessing it was the Spiderman villain.

And, apparently, last night I also had (another) episode of “When Spiders Attack In Your Sleep.”

I may not have mentioned this before, but I sometimes have dreams that there are 1 or more spiders in/on my bed or something of that nature. I end up screaming, causing J to wake up in a panic.

Sometimes I’m half-awake and jump out of bed and say, “J! There’s a huge spider!! Wake up!!!” Then, I proceed to fling off the covers in order to find the rogue spider. J is not a fan of this.

Anyway, this time, I didn’t wake up from the dream … I just sat there screaming and J had to wake me up. I barely remember this. But I do remember that this time Dream-Spidey was scurrying across my pillow… Ugh…

These spider night terror episodes have happened several times, and are increasing in frequency, ever since we got married. And there’s never even been a spider, so J’s getting a little annoyed… I feel bad, but I can’t help it!

And, spiders in my bed would be a totally legit thing to scream about…. so there….

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell me more, tell me more!

Well, my summer is officially over... Summer School started on Monday, and I am already swamped! Just when I feel like I've got it covered, I find a million more things to do! I guess that's the life of a teacher, though, isn't it?

Anyone else start singing "Summer Lovin" just then?? Lol.

I feel like I’ve done a lot of “about me” posts, but I figured I’d do this one anyway. :)

So, let’s link up with Amy Lemons at Step into Second Grade.

Enjoy reading about a few of my quirks and random facts about me… Please don’t judge me. :)

* I've had a celeb-crush on Justin Timberlake since, like, 1996, and swore up and down that'd I'd marry him one day.

* I met my Hubby for the first time at church. I was 14, he was 13.

* I'm the bad listener in the relationship. J is always having to fight for my attention because I get so drawn into what I'm reading, watching, writing, doing, that I literally don't see or hear anything going on around me.

* I might be a germ-a-phobe, I might be ODC… Either way, I have this weird thing about my pillow. I’m very possessive of it and I hate other people touching or using my pillow. Seriously though, I do not want anyone else’s drool or greasy hair or sleep-sweat on my face. If I’m traveling with my pillow, I HAVE to have extra pillowcases packed because there is no. freaking. way. that I’m putting my face on it without crying first if it’s been anywhere other than on my bed. Think about it… Just how clean is that car seat? Probably questionable... What if it falls on the floor, or someone puts their feet on it? Shudder. Or sits on it wearing dirty jeans? Ugh… Or wipes their grimy, car-food hands on it? Eww. Or what if someone coughs or sneezes on, or in the general direction of, my pillow?? And then I have to put my face on it?!? Eeewwww! {I bet you're going to have a pillow thing now, too... just wait...}

* I've been a Gilmore Girls fan since I saw the first episode when I was in 8th grade. I started accumulating the Season DVDs during college, and J mistakenly lovingly gave me the 3 I was missing for Christmas one year. I can watch it for hours on end. And it makes me cry an abnormal amount... even when it's not all that sentimental.

* I'm more of a girly-girl by nature... but people always peg me as a tom-boy!   I've never really been into sports or anything, and I prefer not to get dirty or do crazy scary things like play paintball or ride 4-wheelers. My dad tried to teach me how to shoot guns and bows and arrows, but I only liked it for about 5 minutes. So, I attribute the tom-boy assumptions to my preferance for comfort in my clothing... non-fitted tshirts, jeans, flats... only in the past few years have I been confident enough to wear more feminine and girly clothes. And usually it's just for work or going out.

* I'm always multitasking. But I suck at it. I start something, then start something else. Then I make a to-do list to help me get things done. Then I work on one of the things I started. Then I get an idea, and I'm so excited that I just finish it all at once. Then I realize it wasn't on the to-do list, so I write it on the list and then cross it off, just so I feel like I accomplished something I planned to do. :)

* I’ve had basically the same hair style since 10th grade. Partly because I’m hair challenged and don’t know what else to do with it... partly because I’m just afraid to change it!! Anyway, for the past 10 years (yeah… 10 years!}, my hair has been somewhere between shoulder-length to long-ish & various shades of blonde, usually with layers, sometimes with a face frame or side-swiping bangs, and always parted to the left {slightly, thanks to an ill-placed cowlick}.  My hair is naturally blonde, and I can’t see myself as anything but. Unfortunately, it has been darkening ever so slightly as I get older. I am still hanging on to my roots, though, with the aid of highlights. :)

In all seriousness though, J wouldn't hate me if I cut my hair... but he’d be a little ticked. One time, he came home from a Fire Dept. training, knowing I was going to the salon to get my hair trimmed. Well, when he walked in the door I had my hair swept to the other side, and he could only see my shortest chin-length layers. He said sarcastically, “Um… nice hair??” I, being sweet and innocent, didn’t get why his was acting this way, so I said, “Thanks? And as I turned around, he sighed and said, “Oh, geez… I thought you chopped off your hair… sorry.” Haha!! We cracked up for like 5 minutes.

* My 4th grade “About Me” book says, “When I grow up I want to be… a movie star or a super model or a teacher.” Hahahaha...

* Speaking of elementary school.... I was ALWAYS Baby Spice when my friends and I played “Spice Girls." I would wear my hair in pig-tails and suck on Chupa-Chups (Chocolate-banana rocks!) Aaaand I've still got all the lyrics memorized.

* I am and always will be a Potterhead. Harry Potter (book) series is my favorite. I pin Harry Potter things on Pinterest in between recipes, fashion, housewifey tips, & teaching ideas. I reread at least one of the books a least once a year (it used to be all... but then I became an adult with not enough free time). While the movies certainly aren't better than the books, I cried the first time I saw the trailer for HP 7: Part 2... because I knew that it meant it was really over. I mean, at that point, I had been a HP fan for over half of my life... that's a big deal! Aaaaand that JK Rowling quote about Hogwarts always being there for those who want to return also made me tear up a little.... I'm such a  dork!!

* The Hunger Games series is such a close 2nd favorite that it makes the Potterhead part of me nervous. I dare to say that they're actually a tie... I'm always making Katniss references in my head, and baked goods make me think of Peeta... Oh, Peeta... *sigh*

* I really really really hate being an adult! That, and my two previous confessions regarding my love for adolescent lit, make me feel a little immature.... haha. I'd rather go to school than work. So far, the only plusses of growing up are getting to be married to my best friend, teaching, and wine.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Social: Handbag Edition

Head on over to Ashley or Neely's page and link-up, folks!

Sunday Social

1. What is your favorite handbag you've ever owned?
I have two favorites... 
my mid-size plum Coach bag with brown leather shoulder strap, which I'm currently using
my large black Leather Coach bag... it looks very professional and holds so much stuff inside. I have used it for field trips to hold my teacher folders, and it's great to use if you're carrying around a book to read. Plus, it still has that delicious leather smell!

2. What is your dream handbag you lust over?
Ugh... what handbag do I not lust over!? I love purses, but I have been trying really hard not to spend so much money lately, so I haven't been paying so much attention to fashion, etc. I did peruse the handbags at Macy's recently and pretty much everything by Coach catches my eye. :)
It's pretty, and the hardware and leather hold up so well, even after a couple years of use.

3. What are the daily essentials in your purse or work bag?
Burt's Bees Lip Balm. Phone. Wallet. Keys.

4. What's in your purse (with pictures)?

Love this bag by Coach! It holds a lot more than you think...

A view of the inside...
My checkbook, Dooney & Bourke wristlet, Fossil wallet, & keys
Inside the D&B wristlet: my Panasonic Lumix camera. We got such a good deal on it at Best Buy... it has an amazing zoom (16x!) and some awesome auto settings, as well as a manual setting. Probably the best point and shoot camera I've ever used... 

Hanging out on the bottom: lhand otion, hand sanitizer (yes, they're both apple... yes, it's a coincidence), Mary Kay Lash Love Mascera (awesome!), a mini-size of Daisy by Marc Jacobs (my fave!), Burt's Bees (true love on your lips), Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour (adds a nice, subtle touch of color without sticky gloss or the feel of lipstick), and a comb with some hair ties

And this is everything that I found in the pockets: bobby pins, nail clippers, tiny safety pins, tampons, eye drops, a tiny flashlight, my 'mint' tin that I use for Tylenol & things, a nail file, my iPod touch, Mary Kay Oil Blotters (the best!!! also, a good price!), and two band-aids.

Wait... where's my phone? I think my phone might be on my nightstand... either way, it's not noteworthy. Thank goodness I'm due for an upgrade! I'm debating on getting the iPhone 4 for $100, the 4s for $200, or waiting until the iPhone 5 comes out so I can get the 4s for $100.... So far, I've decided that I'll just wait until my phone is broken or until the 5 comes out. J's Droid is great, but it's just a little too complex when it doesn't need to be.

Anyway, that's my purse.:)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's only Saturday?? & Newbie Blog Hop!

I'm so excited... I have had so much fun, and I got a lot done for school since Friday at 5:30... and it's only Saturday! And my house isn't even a mess! This never happens... God totally answered my prayers for a fun and productive weekend.

J and I invited my friend Randee and her new hubby, over for dinner and a bonfire last night. They just left to go home a couple hours ago. Randee was one of my roomies in college, and I love pretending that we live together again. Living with a boy, even if you love him dearly, just isn't the same as living with your girl friends! Randee somehow motivated me to get all that school stuff done today while we were watching movies, and now I get to post a Monday Made It! Yay! :)

Seriously, look at all the stuff we did...

Friday: went grocery shopping, cooked burgers and veggie kabobs on the grill for dinner {ok, ok, I prepped and seasoned, J grilled...}, had friends over, went on a boat ride, had a bonfire, tried to grill watermelon, and ate s'mores. {The only sucky part of the evening was when I got melted marshmallow in my hair...}

Saturday: made a yummy breakfast, did dishes, painted my toenails, made up my groups and lesson/rotation schedule for summer school, watched two movies, made a rotation management board, found some fun math videos online {Math Mansion & Mr. Lee}, made my "Teacher's Treats" jar, made nachos for dinner, and then we met up with A (my sister) and E (my 18 month-old niece) to go swimming in J's parents' pool {the lake was treated, so no swimming for a couple days}

Isn't that a crazy amount of stuff to do on a Friday evening/night and all day Saturday?! I seriously feel like it's Sunday night already! AND IT'S NOT! Love that feeling!


I completely love this little bloggy world... I know I'm not the first one to say it, but I seriously have gained so much from it! Haters gonna hate, but you can't deny that the blog world is a great resource!

Janis @ Grade Three is the Place for Me! is hosting a super fun linky party/blog hop for new/new-ish bloggers! Since I am ready to unwind, I thought I'd link up. :) 

The Questions...

1. What state you are in?

2. Your current teaching position:
This will be my 2nd year teaching K-4 math and reading intervention

3. Your teaching experience:
 I graduated in May 2010 after student teaching in 5th grade.
I subbed part time for the next school year, and did a long-term in my mentor teacher's classroom for her maternity leave.
Then, I got the job I have now. :)
I'm still searching for a full-time gig. Please pray I find one!!

4. When you started blogging:
I started this blog in November 2010, but I didn't write on a regular basis, nor did I write about anything in particular... It was just random thoughts and daily life sort of things. This fall I started looking through a lot of teaching blogs for resources, and in May I started blogging on a more regular basis. It was then that I decided to revamp my blog to incorporate teaching.

5. Share a blogging tip / blogging resource:
- You can't please everyone, so just beeeee yourself!! :)
- Gaining followers can take time. You can "network" by befriending other bloggers, leaving comments, and joining blog hops & linky parties.
- Take off the comment verification code... If you're afraid about spam, just check your comments page often to delete it, or select the option that requires you to OK all comments before they are posted.
- Within reason, post about what you want, when you want. Personally, I don't mind 2 a day, but when you're posting so many times that you quickly boot other posts off of my blog roll reading list it gets a tiny bit annoying. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Ok... I guess

Time for It’s Ok & Thankful Thursday, hosted by Neely, Amber and Tracy!

It's ok....

... that I'm taking a short bloggy break from setting up my summer school classroom
... that I couldn't sleep last night and overslept this morning after having the weirdest dreams EVER
... that I forgot stuff at home... so I have to come in extra early on Monday before the kids arrive since we can't get in the building again until then
... that I will be spending the majority of my Saturday and Sunday planning lessons while drinking wine
... that I was secretly hoping that typing this list would make me not as frustrated

And IT IS OK that it didn't work...

I'm thankful...

... that my hubby spent 3 hours {after he got home from work} deep cleaning our bathroom and then did the dishes... "So this is love, mmmmm mmm mm mmmmmm..." {Cinderella, anyone??} :)
... I'm thankful that Friday (tomorrow!) I get to hang out with Randee and her new hubby, Brenden!
... I am thankful that my co-worker and I get along so well
... I'm thankful that I have enough of a positive attitude to make this sucky day even a little bearable

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nutella & Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

On Sunday, my church hosted a huge Summer Picnic & Pig Roast. Like a good church girl, I volunteered to bring a dessert, thinking I'd make it Saturday morning/afternoon since all we had planned that day was to have lunch with my Dad for his bday.

Of course, by the time I woke up and stopped vegging out on the couch, I didn't have the time to bake anything before I got ready for the bday lunch.

And, of course, after lunch J and I hung out with my dad for a while {which was nice, and I'm glad we did}, then came home and went out on the boat.

It was about 9:00 Saturday night when I decided it was probably time to make a dessert. {Who has some serious time management problems? Surely, not I!}

My next problem: what do I make?? Cookies? Brownies? Banana muffins? How about I just don't bring anything? Decisions, decisions...

A half hour later Eventually I decided on No-Bake Cookies. But not just any No-Bakes, Nutella No-Bakes! I love Nutella and I saw a recipe on Pinterest and decided it was time to try it.

Unfortunately, I didn't have cocoa powder or wax paper, so obviously a trip to the grocery store (at 9:30 at night) was a must.

I got out of there in record time, even managing to pick up a few random things we needed at home, and I didn't even get stopped at any of the lights on my drive back.

Everything was going swimmingly, and was almost to my street, until I realized that I had forgotten the wax paper.

I've never made No-Bakes before, so I decided that I didn't have the prior knowledge or experience needed to decide that wax paper wasn't necessary. So, I turned the car around and went back to Meijer. Awesome. 

It was 10:30 when I started making the cookies.

After looking at a few different recipes for regular and Nutella No Bake Cookies, I decided that I'd just modify the recipe that I had already printed last summer and never used.

This isn't my own original recipe... I honestly don't know where the original recipe came from, but from what I researched, the recipe is basically the same everywhere.  

How'd they turn out? 


They were so good that I only had four (yes, 4!) left after the picnic. Not even kidding, soon as I noticed this fact, I grabbed my tupperware and removed it from the dessert table. I was not about to get denied the last 4 cookies.

Seriously, if you like Nutella, chocolate, and/or peanut butter, on their own or in a combo, you need to try these cookies. They're also super easy to make and you only have to clean one pot... No mixing
 bowls. No beaters. No cookie sheets. Doing dishes is my least favorite chore, so this is awesome. :)

Sorry the picture sucks... My bad!

Nutella Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies
Total Time: Less than 1 hour
Makes approx. 24ish, 2" cookies


2 c. sugar 
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder -- I used Nestle Tollhouse
1 stick butter
1/2 c. milk -- I used 1/2%
a pinch of salt (optional) 
1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. peanut butter -- I used smooth peanut butter
1/2 c. Nutella hazelnut spread
3 c. oatmeal -- I used old-fashioned, but you could also use quick-oats


1. Prep two medium-large cookie sheets by covering them with a sheet of waxed paper.

2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, bring to a boil the milk, butter, cocoa, and sugar, mixing well. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute, and turn to low heat.

3. Add salt, vanilla, peanut butter and Nutella. Stir.

4. Add oats, 1 cup at a time, stirring well. Once the mixture is well blended, turn off heat. It gets pretty thick toward the end.. Just keep stirring!

5. Drop the mixture by the teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheets covered in wax paper. Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes to cool and harden. Remove cookies from the wax paper using a spatula. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

6. If you want regular no-bakes, just use 1 cup peanut butter. You could do 3/4 c. pb and 1/4 c. Nutella if you wanted a more peanutty taste. Or, if you prefer more Nutella, do 1/4 c. peanut butter and 3/4 c. Nutella.

If you're looking for a healthier option, you could probably use a sugar substitute and applesauce or Greek yogurt in place of the butter. I'm not sure if the amount of each ingredient would change, though, so I'd do some research first.

The only negative is that Nutella can be a little bit on the expensive side... but, I had a $1 off coupon and it was on sale when I bought it, so I say it was totally worth it. :). I'm sure you could also use a different brand of chocolate hazelnut butter, like Jif or Hershey's.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Made It - School Things

Linking up with Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!! :)

This time my Monday Made It things aren’t so cutesy and crafty. They are more on the practical end, considering I actually needed to make most of them for my summer school class.

My “home” made it was a Pinterest inspired plastic grocery bag holder, and no I don't have a picture because I still haven’t decorated it, partly because I didn’t have time, and partly because I didn’t feel like it. After all, it’s under the sink, not on display.

This is the tutorial I used: Plastc Bag Dispenser

For the most part it works ok. Except for when it doesn’t. First time I went to get a bag out, it was sort of stuck and I yanked the whole thing open. Maybe it’s because I used Meijer bags instead of Target bags. Maybe it’s because I used a Clorox wipes container instead of a Lysol wipes container. Maybe it’s because I did it wrong. We’ll see how it goes in the future. I didn’t want to keep experimenting by pulling out bags and then have no bags left.


Here are my classroom Made Its… I’ll be sharing my templates another time. :)


Pencil Cups (from Target Dollar Spot)

“Bucket Filler” bucket (from Target Dollar Spot)

This is going to be a whole-class reward thing… when the kids do something that fills my bucket, like completing a wonderful transition, everyone following directions the first time, getting a class compliment from another teacher, everyone ending the day with no warnings, etc., I will put some warm fuzzies (i.e. craft pom-poms) into my bucket. When it’s full, a lucky student will get to draw a slip from the Teacher’s Treat Jar (which I still have to make...) and we’ll have a whole-class reward, like a hat day, free choice time, mismatch day, etc. Super fun, yay!

Bee Theme Behavior Clip Chart

Just your standard clip chart, printed on cardstock....I actually haven't attached it all together yet, hence the clips holding the pages together, because I'm planning on doing that right before I laminate it at school. Anyway, I needed something basic (I'm such a slacker... I didn't even print in color.. haha) that didn't require a lot of maintanance on my part. Plus, I wanted the kids to have a clean slate each day. Everyone starts the day on yellow, and I can just tell the kids to move their clips up or down accordingly.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Book Club


I read...

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


 Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year. (via)

My Thoughts:
I absolutely LOVED Mockingjay. {I’m pretty sure I said that about all 3 books in the Hunger Games Trilogy, but I meant it each time. It’s become one of my favorites, right up there with Harry Potter.}

I had the hardest time putting this book down and did it only when I had no other choice. If it was an option, I just couldn’t do it... I had to know what happened! And so I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning not once, but twice, to finish the book. The next-day headache behind my eyes was totally worth it each time.

I really enjoyed how the complexity of the characters and their relationships, the themes and the mood evolved throughout the series, even though the characters only aged 1-2 years from the first book to the last. This was the most emotional of the three books, and I cried several times. The other two books each had a few parts that caused me to shed a tear or two, but I actually cried this time. Which was probably funny to see, since it was like 3am and J was passed out in bed next to me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Day in My Shoes & It's Ok/Thankful Thursday!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I love Thursdays... mostly because the next day is Friday, and then it's the weekend.

I'm linking up with Ingles360 for her new linky, "Check out my shoes!"

Ruby Red Slippers
 My Thursday (this past school year) pretty much looked like this:
6:20am - J leaves for work and wakes me up to say bye
6:30am - Wake-up attempt #1... Snooze...
6:45am - Wake-up attempt #2... Snooze...
6:55am - Wake-up attempt #3... Snooze...
7:00am - Wake up {for real} and get ready for work, pack a lunch, sort of watch Today {Btw, I am very unhappy about Ann Curry no longer being on the show. I love her!}
8:00am - Leave for my job at the office
8:30am - Arrive at the office & do office work
Leave for school between 11-11:15
Get to school by 11:20 {yeah, 5 minute drive!}
11:30-12:30pm - 3rd Grade Math Group 2
12:10-12:40pm - 2nd Grade Math Group 3
12:45-1:00pm - Break/Lunch time!
1:05-1:35pm - Kindergarten Reading Group 1
1:40-2:10pm - Kindergarten Reading Group 2
2:15-2:45pm - 3rd Grade Math 1-on-1
2:55-3:25 - 3rd Grade Math Group 3
3:45-4:30 - 4th Grade After-School Math Workshop

Due to the nature of my job, I don't know what my schedule will look like next year, but I'm assuming it'll be relatively similar. Between my co-worker and I, we serviced over 80 students in reading and math... yikes!

My typical Thursday morning over the summer looks pretty much the same, but instead of going to school I just stay at the office all day until 5:00. Super fun.


Anyway, time for It’s Ok & Thankful Thursday, hosted by Neely, Amber and Tracy!

It's ok....

... to get excited about getting my summer school classroom ready! So far, I've made pencil cups, a behavior chart w/ clothes pin clips, my "Bucket Filler" bucket, and name sticks {Don't worry... I'll be sharing everything in the next week or two}
... that I haven't done any lesson planning yet because I'm so excited to make cutsey things instead.
... to get excited every time I apply for a teaching job
... that I'm starting to get really discouraged about this whole job-hunt thing. There are over 10 different school districts surrounding my house, and still nothing. :(
... that I had dirty dishes in the sink for 4 days {don't worry, I did them this morning!}
... to buy movie theater snacks at a party store instead of the pricey concession stands

I'm thankful...

... for a husband that actually likes to snuggle
... for my Daddy. We're celebrating his bday this weekend. :)
... that my Papa lets me do laundry at his house so I don't have to do it at the laundry mat
... for movie dates with my Aunt Sue
... for the Dollar Spot at Target
... that I have 2 jobs that pay the bills when so many people are struggling to find work
... that my father-in-law's friend was able to fix our boat for super duper cheep! :)
... for bagels and cream cheese... Yum!
... for green tea... Yumm again!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


So, the other day I was grocery shopping at my local Meijer and saw that avocaods were on sale for $1 each!! $1!! I was so excited.

I love guacamole… it’s such a great summer side dish and it’s so good for you! It’s also a great topping for burgers, tacos & nachos. This sounds a little weird, but I’ve even eaten it on a hotdog, a turkey dog to be exact. It was actually really good!

Here’s my favorite guac recipe that even my husband, a self-proclaimed claimed guacamole dip hater, loves…

Guacamole Dip

Makes about 4-6 servings

1 avocado (fully ripened)*
1 small-medium sized tomato, diced
1 clove minced garlic
2 drops hot sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1-2 tsp finely diced canned jalapeño peppers, more or less to taste OR 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded for less spice (I used the slices that you can find in jars near the pickles in the grocery store)

Mince your garlic clove, pressing it with the side of the knife blade to get out more flavor. Put it in a small-medium size bowl. Dice the tomato; if you want smoother guac, dice it very small, if you want it more chunky dice it normally. Add the tomato and 1/2 tsp salt to the bowl and mix well. Add hot sauce and finely diced jalapeño peppers to the garlic & tomato mixture and mix again.

Carefully cut your avocado in half and remove the pit. ** Using a spoon, remove the avocado from the skin. On your cutting board, slice avocado into small-medium chunks. Add it to the garlic & tomato mixture. Using a fork, mix together the ingredients and mash the avocado. Mash a lot for a smoother dip, mash a little for a more chunky dip.

Serve immediately (you may also decide to refrigerate for 20-30 mins. first) with your dippers of choice… tortilla chips, crackers, sliced cucumber, celery and carrot sticks… whatever you decide. My fave chips to use are Border Cantina Restaurant Style.

You can turn this into a guacamole cream just by adding a few dollops of sour cream. I prefer serving it with sour cream on the side so people have the option of experiencing that delicious combination (I'm pretty sure that's the only reason J liked it, haha).

* A ripened avocado ready for guacamole has a blackish green skin, feels soft when lightly squeezed, and if you flick off the little button at the top, you should see a nice yellow-green color. If it’s got a lot of brown, then it’s overripe and gross inside.

** In case this is your first time, avocados have a very hard pit in the center so you have to cut around it. Twist the separate halves a little bit and pull apart to separate them. Using a spoon, scoop out the pit. I’ve also seen people use a knife to sort of chop the middle of it and then wiggle it a bit to pull it out, but you need to be very, very careful doing this. If the avocado is ripe enough, removing the pit shouldn’t be too difficult. There’s probably a YouTube video of it if you really want to see it before trying it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Made-It!!!!!

I'm so excited.... I'm finally linking up with Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!! :)

I was inspired by this, and several other crayon projects I've found on Pinterest, but I just loved how this one had the flowers on it to look like a garden.

So, here's how it went down...

On my way home from work on Thursday I became inspired and my thoughts went something like this:
I want to make something.
I'm going to make something.
I'm going to make that crayon art thing...
I'm going to make one for E (the niece).
And I'll make one for myself.
Yes, I'll make two... and it will be glorious.
Let's go to Joann Fabric's and see if they have supplies...
Crap, I don't even have a coupon.
Should I go home to find a coupon?
What if it's expensive?
Should I spend the money?
I want to spend the money.
I want to make something.

I was so involved talking to myself in my thoughts that all of a sudden I realized I was almost home. Yikes!

So, then I went to Joann's... I walked in, determined to make crafty things, and grabbed a basket.

I held my head high, and started walking down the main aisle when I realized I had no idea where anything was. So, I wandered around for a while, looking like a fish out of water... or some other thing completely confused and out of place.

Eventually I found ribbon... not exactly on my crafty supply list, buuuuut maybe I could use it!  I proceeded to look for ribbon. I decided that I didn't need ribbon, so if I was going to get some, it had to be on sale. And there was ribbon on sale! For less than $1.00! Problem? I didn't like any of the sale ribbon that was left. No ribbon for Claire. *sad face*

Next, I needed a glue gun. I happened to stumble upon easily found the glue & adhesive aisle and I picked out a cute mini-glue gun {it's PINK!} and some extra glue sticks. That was easy!

Then I was on a mission for letter stickers so I could write words on the canvas... and it was fate. I found the perfect stickers and they were 40% off! Yay!

I looked for crayons, celebrating my prior successes along the way, and I found them quickly with my supreme navigational skills. But then I decided that no one should buy crayons at Joann's. They're freaking expensive... like almost $3 for a pack of 24. Nuts! I know this because afterward I went to Meijer (I had groceries to buy, too) and got crayons on sale for $.50... yes, that's fitty cent people! It's ot even back-to-school sale time yet! Hooray!
{Side note - I went to the Dollar Tree for crayons before Meijer and they didn't have any. What's up with that?!?}

Apparently I was so distraught by the overpriced crayons that I lost my way in the craft store. I had to ask someone where the canvases were... The lady turned to her left, pointed gingerly across the aisle and said, "Right there."
Oh. Ok.
I proceeded to grab the canvases I needed and my wallet said, "YAY!" because they were on sale for 50% off. Ooh ooooooh!

Since I was done, I wandered around for a little while just in case something amazing happened before I got in line at the register. Nothing did, so I checked out.

Then my craft supplies sat in the bag on the floor for 2 days while they continued to taunt me...
Don't you want to make something crafty, Claire?
Come on, Claire, all the cool bloggers do it... you must not be cool...
Don't you want to link up for Monday Made It??

And then I got my act together and made these:

This one is for my niece!! It looks nothing like I had originally planned, but I love how it turned out! I initially planned to have her name in bigger letters across the top, and have the crayon wax less blended so when I added the flowers it would look like the stems or grass. But the wax blended together too much to do that, so I just stuck the flower stickers on in the corners (not pictured, but it looks super cute)....

This one says "Live, Laugh, Love, Read!"
I still have to scrape the wax off the letters, so it's a little hard to see them in the darker colors.

This one is mine, for my classroom. After Elizabeth's didn't turn out as planned, I decided I'd use the flowers for mine and do the garden thing. But, again, the wax blended together too much so it wouldn't work. Thend I decided to try and cover the whole canvas in wax and make it super rainbow-y. This one took much longer with whole blending thing and trying to cover the whole board. I'm pretty pleased with it, but still bummed it didn't go as planned. Maybe I'll feel differently after I clean up the words so you can see them better.

I ended up adding the flowers to Eliz's canvas...

I LOVE how this one turned out!

Here's a mini-tutorial if you're interested...

I used...
blank white canvas boards (I think mine were 9x12 ish?)
about 48 crayons per canvas
a hot glue gun & glue sticks
a blow dryer with a high-heat setting

What I did...
Put down some newspaper or whatever to prevent wax dripping problems.
Put the stickers on the canvas.
Get out the crayons and organize them in a ROY G. BIV fashion (you could mix it up if you wanted to, but I'm a little OCD) minus the brown, black, gray and white (which you could also use if you wanted).
Heat up your glue gun.
Hot glue the crayons to either the top or bottom on the canvas, points going toward the middle of the canvas.
Use the blow dryer to melt the crayons.
I tilted the board some to help spread it out, and ended up using my finger some, which sorta hurt and I would recommend a paint brush or something instead.

If I did this again, I'd not use stickers for the words and use paint or paint pens to write them on. When the wax got really metly some of my stickers became unstuck and started floating around. And using your fingers to put them back is not a good idea... hot crayon wax on your skin = ouch.

Next week I think I'm going to try a menu/planner board of some sort... at least if I get enough planning done for summer school. I suppose I should get on that...