Sunday, December 9, 2012

Can't load!!

Have any of you run into this problem?  I'm getting a message that I've reached my limit of pics.  Can I delete some without deleting posts?  I'm not sure what to do.  Do you pay for a subscription?  I tried loading some to a private file on Pinterest and then using the URL option for loading pics and now, after 4 or 5 days, they're not showing up.  I would love some help with this problem!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

We're spreading the kindness at my house to my classroom!

So today I told my class about all the fun Random Acts of Kindness that my daughter and I have been doing.  You should've seen their faces light up.  You could just see their minds working on their own ideas.  When I asked if any of them would like to do something similar at school, every hand in the room shot into the air!!  They were so excited at this thought, it just melted my heart.  Last year I used these wonderful little ideas from Lil Light O' Mine

and Kinder Tastic.

I printed them out, cut them into strips, and we choose a new one each day.  We also decided it might be fun to do some nice things (secretly) for our Book Buddies.  We are also planning to give cookies and a huge thank you note to our day and night custodians.  When I asked my kiddos if they'd ever wrote a thank you not for the custodian or given either of them a card they all said, "No."  Then they all started talking about how much work they both do and how grateful we are for them. They were all a buzz this afternoon thinking about their ideas for being kind.  I can't wait to see how much they inspire me over the next few weeks!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Currently and a few days of RAOK

It's time for the December Currently with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade!!  I love reading what everyone else is doing this month.  It's just too funny that Farley has a RAOK on this months currently.  Saturday night my daughter and I decided we would complete 25 random acts of kindness this month, and then I hopped on to blog about it and saw Farley's December Currently.

We started Saturday night by heading to Dairy Queen for a half time treat during the K-State game and purchased the order for the people behind us.  Katie was just beaming....she said, "Mom, this is awesome!"  On Sunday we put this goodie bag on the neighbors garage door so they would see it when they arrived home from church.

Monday we are leaving a this for our mailman,

and on Tuesday we are leaving these in the teachers lounge for all the wonderful people at my amazing school!

Wednesday we are leaving a Pizza Hut gift card on the porch of a single mother with 4 children who is struggling a bit.

I can't wait to read what everyone else is doing!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

25 Random Acts of Kindness to replace 30 Days of Thankful

During the month of November I made a daily thankful post on Facebook.  I'm guessing a few people were sick of them by the end of the month, but I absolutely loved doing it.  Taking the time to think about what I was thankful for each and every day was wonderful!  I woke up this morning and really wanted to post something positive.....but what?  Then I got it....25 random acts of kindness.  The kids and I decided we would challenge ourselves to do 25 random acts of kindness over the next 25 days. 

I immediately jumped on Pinterest and Katie and I found TONS of idea!

The last pic game from the blog Lil Light O' Mine and she has a planning guide and tons of easy and fun ideas!  We are so excited about all of these ideas we can hardly wait to get started.  Since we are sorta jumping in at the last minute (it is already December 1st) we decided tonight to treat ourselves to a little Dairy Queen during half time of the K-State game.  While we are there we are going to pay for the order for the car behind us.  I can't wait to share each week how are kind acts are going and to see how they make the three of us feel!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A productive weekend!!

I wish I were blogging about all the school stuff I've accomplished this weekend, but sadly that is not the case.  I do have my lesson plans for this week already done and some fun Thanksgiving things for the two days after that, but I haven't touched the 64 writing projects sitting on my table waiting to be graded.  We used some books from our school library to research a state from the Southeast region.  The students then practiced using the table of contents, headlines, captions, and scanning pages to complete an outline,

used the books table of contents to locate the almanac and  filled out a fact page,

and finally, used their outline to write a 4-5 sentence paragraph about the history, environment, industry, and sites to see of their state.

They did an amazing job, and they were so impressed with their ability to write more than 16 sentences that they were beaming!!!

But, the real worked occurred at my house this weekend!!  I used the laundry soap recipe I found on Pinterest to make another batch of laundry soap.  You can read the original post here.  I love this stuff and it's costs about $4 to make 5 months worth of laundry soap.....BARGAIN!!!

I cleaned my washing machine following these easy instructions.  Ummmm, my washer was beyond nasty in the fabric softener dispenser and a few other areas. It is so squeaky clean right now that I can't wait to wash something in it!

I painted the little ugly, stained wall between my washer and dryer a bright, sunny yellow color and created a cute little sign to brighten it all up.  The sign says "Wash, Dry, repeat, repeat, repeat...."  I'm planning to make a fabric curtain to hide the paint and things that are stored down there and adding a few other touches to make that dark, basement laundry room a happier place to be.

I made the yummiest chicken with cornbread dumplings in the crockpot on Saturday.  You can find the recipe here.
I snagged this photo from the website....mine wasn't nearly this pretty in my old chipped bowls.

Since it was almost 80 degrees outside yesterday I cleared the leaves off the deck, and the porch, threw out the pumpkins that were starting to rot, and put all the chair cushions and flower pots in the shed.  Today it is 35 degrees with the windchill and the deck is bare.....waiting for winter.....and then the fun of putting it all out again next spring!

Finally I made these too cute Christmas trees for my dresser.  Since my bedroom has a beachy sorta feel I think these look darling against my giant piece of drift wood and my shutters.  I got the inspiration from Shauna Mailloux: Make Life Beautiful.  I took her advice and made my tree forms from cereal boxes we had in the recycling bin.

This is Shauna's lovely picture, my camera would not cooperate!  I can assure you mine are super cute, but her's are magnificent!!

I'm feeling so good about all the things I accomplished this weekend that I'm already making a list for next weekend.....that is if I can manage to use my time wisely this week and get those writing projects graded!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Getting out of a rut....

It's not easy changing your ways, getting out of a rut, reorganizing your habits....nope not easy at all!  I feel like it's time to make some changes in the way I use my time.  I know it's not going to be easy, and I anticipate a few slip ups (okay, probably several slip ups), but I'm willing to give it my best effort and see what can happen from a few simple changes!

I spend far too much time on the Internet reading blogs, checking out Facebook posts, scanning my email, and searching Pinterest endlessly for things I will file away and forget about or never get to.  I've decided there's just got to be a better way to spend my time.  I make a billion excuses as to why I don't have time to read, meditate, exercise, craft, and relax.  I know, it's blatantly obvious to everyone that I could give up a little time on the computer and make room for all of these other things.  Why did it take me so long to see it....I'm guessing because change is hard and I was avoiding the work.

I'm hoping to make one small change every 3 weeks.  The first one will be sorta huge, but the others will be small and not too difficult.  I'm hoping by making these changes I will feel more relaxed, happier about my choices, and more content.  My first change is a doozy.....I want to completely revamp my morning routine!  I am a creature of habit and have a great fear of change, so this one is going to be rough!  I really enjoy a cup of coffee, the silence of the house, and some time reading all my favorite blogs, pinning unnecessary things on Pinterest, and checking in on all my FB peeps.  But, is this really this really the best way to spend my quiet precious hour alone in the morning?  I just know I'm not doing what's best for me with that hour.....I'm wasting it by reading about what the rest of the world is doing.

Starting Tuesday (let's face it....nobody starts on Monday), I plan to use my hour for exercise, yoga, and/or meditation.  I'm working on a plan that will include 6 days of the week, and still allow my coffee and online time on Sundays.  I'm really eager to see what a difference it has made in three weeks!  I know Thanksgiving falls within my first three weeks, but I'm just going to be realistic about it.  We are traveling for the holiday and I know I'm not going to workout every morning of our vacation....I will see how those three days go and just be happy with any change I make during that time.

I'm also working on a school change that I will add when I reach my three week mark.....can't tell you what it is yet because I'm not 100% certain myself, but I know it's got to do with time management!

Friday, November 2, 2012


Linking up with Farley at Oh'Boy 4th Grade for her monthly Currently! 

My sweet little girlie has been home sick for the past couple of days....she even missed trick-or-treating on Halloween because of her fever.  She is curled up on the sofa next to me watching Phineas and Ferb while I catch up on my favorite blogs.

I absolutely love reading everyone's thankful posts on Facebook during the month of November.  It helps to remind me of all the things I am so lucky to be thankful for every single day.

I don't play a lot of music in my room....mostly because I forget about it until it's time to move on to another task and then I missed the perfect music moment.  One thing we do every morning though is listen to a Disney song on my iPad.  I play it as every one arrives in the morning.  The students have until the song is over to unpack their backpacks, put their snacks in their desks, turn in their homework, and get truckin' on their morning work.  I love this new addition this works like a dream and I never have to get after them for wasting time in the morning!  The added bonus is watching them mouth the words and dance a little as they are moving through the room!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Is it just Hurricane Sandy....or is change really coming?

So I don't live anywhere near the east coast or in the range of Hurricane Sandy, but I've been having a strange feeling that I don't think is being cause by the barometric pressure.  Have you ever had the feeling that change is coming?  The kind of feeling that no matter what you do, change is inevitable....but you're okay with it! 

For the past week I just feel like something is going to happen.  It doesn't feel like something bad.....just a good way.  I have  no idea what it might be, but I think I'm ready for whatever it is.  Why am I typing such a random blog post that no one else will care about???  I just feel like I need some proof that I knew it was going to happen, and that I should trust that instinct when it comes again.  Could I be change really coming?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We voted!!!

We had the absolute best time learning about the election this week!  On Monday we viewed a powerpoint presentation I made highlighting the important words we would need to know.  These included: Republican, Democrat, delegate, campaign, electoral college, and ballot.

We read about the differences between the two major parties in this great country of ours, and learned that there are also third parties.  We used the Scholastic News site to watch two short videos about the qualifications of a president and how the voting process works.

We practiced our Nonfiction reading skills by reading an article in our Time For Kids magazines.  The article told us about the Republican and Democratic candidates and how campaigning works. We made these super adorable lap books that I found at Homeschool Share!  My student absolutely loved this project!

We wrapped up our short week with a Coke vs. Pepsi election.  We first watched a short Scholastic News video on how the electoral college works.  My kiddos were floored to find out that the American people do not choose our president by popular vote.  I loved this video because it explained things so simply.  We stopped several times through to re-explain, discuss, and ask questions.

We used the interactive Electoral College map here.  The kids each got 2 or 3 note cards with various states listed on them.  The card also included the number of electoral votes that state receives.  The students wrote their vote on the back of the note card and then I tallied the votes by changing the color on our electoral map.  Coke changed to red and Pepsi to blue.  My student were so excited about this activity.  They were all just bursting to get home and tell their parents what they'd learned.  I will definitely be using the format again in 4 years when we elect another president!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's conference time....

I've got my fingers crossed that the next two days go by quickly and smoothly!  I had one early conference this afternoon and it went great!  I hope that is a sign for how the rest of them will go.

Tomorrow is going to be a very LONG day.  My plan time is from 8:45-9:45 and that is the only break I will get until 8:00 p.m. My first conference starts at 4:00 p.m. and I have 8 of them straight nervous that I will be yawning like crazy by the end.....I always think that makes me seem so uncaring. 

Thursday I have a full morning, a pretty open afternoon, and another full night!  Looking forward to having a chance to visit with all my little student's parents.....and REALLY looking forward to spending the day with my sweet girlie on Friday.  Conference week always means less family time and that can be tough.

Good luck to all my teacher friends!  I hope your conferences go wonderfully and that you hear nothing but kind, appreciative words!

Monday, October 22, 2012

10 things I learned this week....

10. A leaf vac/blower is a girls best friend!
I worked all day Saturday in the backyard getting a head start on the leaf clean up....I call it a head start because I usually do nothing with the leaves until spring.  I used the leaf vac to clean up under the bushes and around the fence, and I gotta  tell ya....I'm in love with that thing!

9. A hedge trimmer runs a close second to winning my heart!
Yep, that guy is pretty handy.  I borrowed it from a friend, and I'm thinking I just may need to purchase one for myself.  The bushes will be looking shapely and fine all winter long.

8. An  entire day to work in my classroom is the best gift I could ever receive.
Seriously, if you're a teacher you know this.  I actually got to enjoy my entire weekend.  I was able to get this weeks lesson plans all finished (granted it's only a 3 day week due to conferences on Wed. night, and all day Thurs. and Thurs. night), and a head start on the lesson plans for next week.

7. Kansas weather can be surprising and a bit annoying!
Okay, truthfully I already knew this!  It was an absolutely beautiful weekend!!!  Temperatures in the mid 70's, sunny, and lovely.  The high on Wednesday is 84, and on Saturday.....47!  I turned my heat on a while back when the over night low was 26!!!  That's fall in KS....heater one day, A/C the next!

6. My daughter is spoiled rotten and I can't say no to her.
It's true!  I have a ton of stuff going on this week....including two 12 hours work days due to conferences, and my sweet little angel (dripping with sarcasm there people) decides she just can not possibly wear her school Halloween costume to the party she is attending Saturday night!  So, I guess when we are off of school on Friday we will be creating a new costume....ugh, why can't I tell her no????

5. I have a crazy neighbor!
Actually I have two crazy neighbors, but one is absolutely NUTS!  On Saturday while cleaning up the leaves about 6 cops show up at a house in the cul-de-sac behind me.  They go to one house and then cross the cul-de-sac to another house and begin beating on the door.  They do that for 20 minutes, yelling for the woman to come out.  They are in the backyard looking in the window, peeking in the front door, and finally she comes out.  Turns out the neighbor who's house they went to first called the police because when she came home from an  errand she found the other neighbor in her bedroom wearing black gloves!  There is more to the story.....but it's just too much to type.  Even though my neighbor is in jail at the moment....we will be very careful to keep the doors locked!!!

4. An entire day of relaxing and reading is necessary sometime.
Yesterday I finished a book, walked the dog, went to Sis's volleyball game, made myself shrimp curry, and did lots of thinking.  I usually work so hard on Sundays while the kids are gone.  I always feel like I should get a jump start on the week, do all of these extra things so I can enjoy more time with the kids when they are home, but this Sunday.....I needed a break.  I'm so thankful I was able to treat myself this way....I needed it!

3. Conferences make me nervous!
Yep, even though this will be the 11th time I've done Parent/Teacher conferences I am still a nervous wreck!  I've got an early one tomorrow during my plan time, and the rest are Wed. and Thurs......I am really hoping I'm not blindsided by some unknown issue.  I hope the parents of my students think I'm doing a good job and that I'm able to answer all of their questions.....ugh, I'm never any good with parents.....I know this and this is why I work with 9 and 10 year olds all day :)

2. Dessert always brings a smile!
I have been trying to make a small dessert each week for my little family.  It's never anything fancy or outrageously special, but they always love it and they always smile!

1. I am horrible with big decisions!
Yep, I freak out, stress out, and get all sick to my stomach.  I've got a big decision to make and I'm already feeling nauseous!  Why can't I be better with these things?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Help!!! I need some advice!

So I talked to my academic adviser today and I'm completely freaking out!  The plan is to start my Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with the Reading Endorsement in January.  I have to take two classes per semester because I am taking out a student loan to complete the program.

My adviser said she understands my need for financial aide, but would not recommend that many hours to a person in my situation....single mother, 2 very busy kids, a full time job, and a part time job.  I just can't do this without taking out a loan, and K-State requires I take at least 5 hours to qualify for financial aid.  That means two courses.

I gotta be honest....I'm starting to wonder if I should be doing this.  My kids are so busy, and I don't want to miss any of this precious time with them.  They are growing up way too fast and in just 2.5 short years my son will be off to college.  My baby girl is starting middle school next school year and then our schedules will be really crazy.

Should I be getting my Master's Degree now?  Is it the right time?  Am I setting myself up for failure by taking two classes on top of everything else I have going on?  Can I afford not to have a Master's's the only way to increase your income in education.  What about during sale week (if that happens....a disaster has happened with that...can't even think about it right now)....can I work 14 hour days and complete the course work for two classes and  keep up with grading and lesson planning, and all the needs of my kiddos?

I just don't want to fail.  I don't want to start and not be able to finish.  I don't want to get half way in and realize I'm drowning and just can't do it. I'm so confused, and I could REALLY use some advice.  Anyone have some experience with this?  Any parents out there who obtained their Masters degree while working a job and half?  HELP!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Underground Railroad

As part of our study of the Southeast region we learn all about the Underground Railroad.  Our social studies teacher just wrapped up this unit and last week we got the privilege of having a local organization bring us their classroom on wheels so we could learn a little more about the history of slavery in Kansas.

The kids get to attempt picking cotton and are timed,

they are asked if they would like to squeeze in to a box much like one a slave stayed in for 24 hours on his trip to freedom via the Underground Railroad,

they do a little research and question answering on iPads,

and they get to read all kinds of information about how some Kansans helped to abolish slavery.

Check back in the spring when we will enjoy a novel study on the book Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad.

I have not taught a 4th grade class yet that didn't absolutely love this novel study.  We have all kinds of great activities that go along with it that I'll be sharing.  We wrap it all up with a day long field trip to various sites that played an important role in the Underground Railroad!