Monday, June 30, 2014

Meet Me Monday and Monday Made It

Happy Monday friends! 

I am linking up with The Teaching Tribune again for Monday Meet Me. This week's focus is on 3 things I am thankful for. 
1. Of course, I am thankful for my kids. They are a handful, but they teach me new ways to appreciate life and be a better person, mother, and teacher. 
We are so thankful they are healthy and doing well. They are not perfect, but in comparison to what they could be dealing with, we are thankful for their great health and abilities. 
My youngest is one of those reminders of how lucky we are. 
Almost 5 years ago I woke up to a scary scene and was in labor 2 months early. I was frightened, and even though the doctors and nurses did their best to keep me from worrying, it was clear, both of our lives were at risk. (My uterus ruptured and I was bleeding heavily. He was born without fully developed lungs or the ability to swallow.)
He was and is a little warrior. He had some shaky moments, but he made remarkable gains, even went home 1 month earlier than predicted. I was lucky enough to be with him every day he was in the NICU, I know that bond helped him grow and conquer the obstacles in his path.  
It took our entire family a long time to recover from the trauma* and not worry about breathing, feeding, and infections. We stayed close, built a stronger bond, and are a happy crew of 5. (*Although they were young, my oldest 2 were traumatized by the events - it is hard to explain to a 4 year-old why his brother has to stay in the hospital and to a 2 year-old why he cannot go in to meet him - he saw him through pictures for the first 30 days, he got to see/touch him the day he came home. Yes, I bawled!)
2. I have seen the grass on the other side of the proverbial fence, and it is not greener! I worked in other fields, worked in a horrible school, worked in an awful micro-managed environment, and struggled to find my "place" in my current school. I am thankful for where I am at, how much better it is, and how great of a team/family I work with. I know how hard it is to get and keep a job in education, so I really appreciate all of the hard work I put in to my career and the wonderful people I work with.
3. Ok, it is cliché, but I am incredibly thankful for my family, husband, and my friends! I am especially thankful for the friends I am making through blogging. When I started, I was not sure where this blog would lead me. Today, I know it is along a path of developing great friendships!
Thank you for all of the kindness and camaraderie each of you provides!
Thank you for the chance to share a little piece of me and being a part of making me the best teacher I can be!

Although my creations are simple, I am linking up again with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. Here are some of the things I have been busy doing. 
The kids and I made this painting for their Grandma's birthday.
We used a canvas, acrylic paint, stencils I cut using my Silhouette, and a Sharpie paintbrush. Grandma really liked this part of her gift and the boys loved painting!
I am determined to de-clutter and use the great ideas I have pinned on my Pinterest board. I finally got around to hanging the spice racks I picked up at Ikea.

My youngest loves his new trophy rack right above his headboard. I hung the medals with clear Command hooks that are hidden behind his brother's top bunk.

To encourage my oldest to read more, I set up some bookshelves in his room. I need to get better drywall anchors, so I had to stop hanging them, even with light books they came out of the wall.
Once I finish hanging his book racks, I think I will personalize the shelves with some book quotes and the wall with some inspirational quotes. I am determined to use my Silhouette and vinyl (my first few experiences with the vinyl were epic failures).
I love the inside of Stitch Fix boxes and am determined to put them to good use. I decided to try our some spray adhesive and turn the boxes in to paper collectors for my classroom.

The adhesive worked well on every part, but the bottom, think I might add some hot glue to hold the flaps on the bottom.
For now, I painted the corners and over the code and directions. I might add some pretty fabric to the outside of the box to make it look less like a recycled box. 
I added the black add-on label, purchased at Target. 
I was inspired by a pin I had on my board. My boxes are still a work in progress, but they are too pretty to just recycle. I plan to use them to collect completed work and work in progress. 
This was first time using spray adhesive, I got a lot on my hands. The best way to remove it is with some oil, like coconut oil or use some lotion, sticky residue comes off while you moisturize! 
Speaking of wrapping fabric and spray adhesive, I made a simple pin board for my classroom from a piece of scrap wood, Styrofoam, and fabric. 
It matches the fabric on the curtains in my classroom. I thought about painting it, but I wanted something a little different than the clip board I used last year. 
I added the Styrofoam so I can pin papers to the board. I plan to use it to keep track of grade level papers. 
It also coordinates with the cardboard circles I made last year. 
The lighting is bad in this picture, the accent color is green.
As the month nears the end I am starting to feel the need to create. Just a few weeks to get crafty before planning and teaching resumes. Hopefully I will have some grander creations for you next Monday. 
What have you created recently?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eating, Drinking, and Linking: Grilling

I am excited about sharing some delicious recipes with you and linking up with Christy at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road

If you love cookies, you won't want to miss her post. Also check out the yummy posts everyone else has shared. Thank goodness virtual pictures are calorie free! 
I love grilled foods. There is something about the simplicity of grilling and the delicious taste that grilling pulls out of food. 
In the summer, we grill almost every single night. This year I have even taken over the reigns of the grill, since during the school year my husband did a lot of school night dinner prep. 
If you like sauteed onions, I have a super simple recipe for you. 
Cut or slice a sweet onion, place it on top of some aluminum foil, put a spoonful of butter on top, close the alumninum foil up and put it on top of the grill as it heats up. 
As the grill heats, then while your food cooks, the onion is transformed in to a soft, delicious topper (or even it eat it as side dish). The bitterness of raw onion disappears and the onion becomes a source of buttery bliss. 
Last night, we added the rings to our burgers, YUMMY! It is also delicious with steak. 
I also love to grill peaches and pienapple. Grilling brings out the sweetness of the fruits. 
Sliced peaches are great on a salad, as a side dish, or as dessert - tryi it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! 
Grilled butter onion on my burger and grilled pineapple as a side dish. 
All I do it slice the peaches in half or cut slices of the pineapple, place them on the griil, cook for about 5 minutes and they are perfect! For the pineapple slices, I flipped them over so both sides had a chance to cook. 
Recently I grilled some watermelon slices. I did not like it as much as the pineapple or peaches, but it was neat to compare raw and grilled flavors. 
I love lamb, but hardly ever cook it. Recently, I had a major hankering and decided to tried to grill it. This was one night I did not object to my kids snubbing their noses at me about the lamb steaks. They ate hot dogs while I enjoyed a full serving, and savored leftovers the next day!
Based on all of the recipes I read, the key is marinating it.
Click here for the recipe I used. It was simple, but produced a wonderful entree. And of course, this Irish girl, served up some potatoes as a side dish. 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


Place lamb chops in a shallow baking dish or resealable. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, honey, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper and pour over chops. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat grill. Grill chops over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes per side on until browned to desired doneness.
Last year I bought a Zoku with the ambition of creating Popsicle treats for the boys all of the time. Well, little did I know that is was not going to be my favorite purchase, the thing is a pain in the butt to clean and only makes 3 ice pops at a time. For some reason, mine does not freeze the pops as quickly as advertised, or maybe I am impatient, or perhaps a little of both. 
I decided it was time to give the Zoku a chance to redeem itself, and pulled it out to make Jell-o pudding pops, remember those? 
I tried out the recipe on My Pinterest Affair, and well, let's say, it did not go super smoothly! They were delicious, but my attempt resulted in a messy end product. Check them out...
Looks like a chocolate volcano exploded!
He was still a very happy customer!
Another happy customer, he was surprised how cold it was. 
The pudding mixture was thick! I stuffed it in a plastic bag, then squeezed it in to the Zoku molds. Since it did not pour, the mixture did not make it all the way to the bottom. 
The mixture was so good, even before freezing it. The boys were my frozen pop tasters since I had enjoyed a few scoops of the non-frozen Jell-O! 
I used 1 box of Chocolate pudding (instant). 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk, and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (might be why it was so thick). Simple, good, and filled my nostalgic needs for some pudding pops!
So what have you been enjoying this summer? Do you have a favorite go to meal or have you tried something new? Check out the other posts or consider linking up with Christy at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday Snapshots & Stock Up Summer Sale

Happy Saturday friends!
Summer Saturdays are great because you get to truly enjoy the moments and not stress about planning for the upcoming Monday. 
If you are planning for Monday, or next school year, you might be interested in the items available for $1 each from my shop, they are listed at the bottom of the post.
I am also excited because I have tons of photos to share with you for Saturday Snapshots with the extremely talented Miss Nelson from  Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera.
I had a lot of fun capturing the happiness of my kids this week. There are even some pictures capturing brotherly love.
This week, the boys were excited to have their go-cart back from the welding shop. The Christmas gift that keeps on costing us money, but they love it and are able to channel their boy energy and their "need for speed" (know the movie that quote is from???).

Carting also means time to bond with Daddy. Love how my youngest mimicked his Dad watching the oldest two carting.

I played around with where I focused my photo. One time on his sweet face, and the other on the teeny feet.

Aside from carting, the boys had fun being silly. Look at these two with their pretend barbell.
I love how he even acted like he was working that weight.
 It always helps to get great photos when you have a willing model. Love how happy my youngest {almost} always is and his enthusiasm to be photographed.
My boys rarely sit still, that is why I love this picture. You can tell he did not intend to sleep, but he eventually gave in to his all-day play exhaustion.

Just a little side note, Google is great but can also be a pain in my rear! Sometimes I can upload pictures and sometimes I can't. Do you think someone is sitting in the office laughing at the havoc? Oh well, no stress, I got everything done...eventually! The following 3 items are on sale in my store all weekend, for only $1 a piece. 
Bacteria, Protists, and Fungi, oh my!
Editable and Foldable Flaps 2-10 Flaps
Fraction Task Cards with holiday flair
Hope you have a fabulous Saturday and enjoy all of the little moments of your day! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Five for Friday 6/27/14

It is already the last Friday of June, whoah, time needs to slow down! My sweet husband pointed out the other day that I go back in a month. Yikes, 1 month! Time to tackle the summer bucket list! 
Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the weekly party, always help me get my accomplishments and desires in check. 
So excited, to finally have the stone for the fireplace. I am trying to be patient and not be pushy since my husband will be doing most of the labor, but I am ready to go! Trying to word my impatience carefully, need to keep the craftsman happy!
Testing out the height of the cinderblocks and sanding off the glue on the metal fireplace plate. 
Doing some work around the house means I am checking over my Pinterest boards. I have pinned a lot and want to use some of them. I know, "Be patient!"
It has been fun looking and dreaming. 

Sometimes my sweet husband and I do not communicate well about the work to be done in the house. He has trouble verbalizing what he envisions and I do not have the technical talk. Thank goodness for Pinterest and the internet, guess we are both visual learners!  
Since we have one wall open, we are thinking of adding some storage to the wall on adjacent wall. Might even do some improvements in the master bath! 
Thank you Pinterest
I hate cleaning. Too bad I was not born in to royalty and am not independently wealthy. 
I have spent some time cleaning up the kids' rooms and my own room. It always feel good to declutter, although it wipes me out and I get grouchy during the process. 
Ready for Goodwill
You can see the floor and everything is in the correct bin!
I am on a mission, to rid our surroundings of as much clutter as possible before school starts back, good thing Goodwill is really close to my house. 

Time to celebrate a small victory. Usually when I take my boys to the pediatrician I walk out frustrated and with one (or all) in tears. This year they all did well! 
My middle did not want to disrobe for the doctor and protested a little, but it was not that big of a deal. (Their doc is awesome, she works well and around their quirks.)
Guess it helped that no one was due for shots!
In the past, kids would escape form the room or someone would need a major timeout (one time, the doc put my oldest in the corner!), but not this time. Wow! It felt great, guess this is how life is for people with perfect children. My kids are wonderful, not perfect, so this was  huge deal for me! 
What would a Five for Friday summer post be without a picture from the pool? This week my oldest had his BFF over and they were in hog heaven, it was precious! Today my middle's BFF is coming over to swim with us. 
Happy Friday friends! Have a splendid day!