Friday, December 30, 2011

How I Spent (and am STILL spending) my Winter Vacation - Linky 3!

How I Spent (and am still spending, because I am not saying past tense on this vacay until Tuesday at 7:50!) my Winter Vacation.... this is the 3rd linky party I've done in 4 days...but this time...

I am H.O.M.E! and it's never felt so good to be home.  I usually hate coming home from a trip, I mean, who actually wants to leave?  No laundry, no cooking, sleeping in, etc. etc.  

But this girl wanted to be home.  I even posted on FB when we crossed into Virginia, "I've never been so glad to see 'Welcome to Virginia' in my life."  It's not that the trip was a bad one, I had a good time.  Ate WAY too much, didn't shop quite enough, but enjoyed my stay in Gatlinburg.  It's definitely a beautiful place, cold, fresh air, and beautiful!  But I missed home.  I know my daughter did because all she wanted was her dollhouse that Santa left her.  And our dog :)  (Me too!!)

So, this is what I've done so far (smile) over Winter break....

1.  Ate dinner at Olive Garden
2.  Done and finished Christmas shopping
3.  Wrapped presents
4.  Eaten wayyyy too much food (and chocolate!)
5.  Visited family
6.  Church
7.  Watched my daughter open presents from Santa
8.  Traveled to Tennessee in a rain/wind storm that lasted the entire!
9.  Arrived at a hotel room that hadn't been cleaned... (but we got that night free, so no big!)
10.  Saw my first snow of the year on top of a mountain
11.  Outlet shopped (whoooo hoo!)
12.  Again, ate wayyyyy too much food
13.  Walked around Gatlinburg for 2 days
14.  Traveled back to Virginia (yay!)
15.  Blogging, Words with Friends, and Angry Birds 
16.  Spending time with my wonderful hubs and daughter

Here are some of the pics I took from my phone :)  
Applewood Restaurant
This is exactly how much food you get.  You get apple fritters and apple juleps first, then soup, then salad, then your main course, and THEN dessert (and it's all included!!!) You had to roll me outta there.  I had to ride home with the pants unbuttoned...but it was SOOOO good.  Guess what I had?

Chicken and dumplins....sigh. :)  dare I say better than Cracker Barrel's?

SNOW!!!!  This was on the Tennessee/NC border going into Cherokee, NC.  Newfound Gap

Such a beautiful place!  Hope to go back again!

Check out A Clutter Free Classroom and join up on the linky party!  Happy New Year 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Resolutions Linky Party #2

Yay!  Another linky party!  (yes, I'm still on vacay and YES, I'm blogging!)

Mor over at A Teacher's Treasure is having a 2012 resolution linky (and it's gonna hold you accountable!  love it!)  So, here goes nothing!

1. copy and paste this image to your post & link it to this party!
2. Make sure you include both personal & professional goals.
3. No more then 3-5 goals for each.

thought it would be funny to write these in the form of standards since that is an objective I am all too familiar with bahahaha

PG1:  This adult will lose at least 10 pounds with 100% accuracy.  (I lost 40 after I had my daughter but have gained half of it back...poo.  Think I'd better fix that.)  Exercise and eat better...yes Haley, this means no more chocolate chip more Snickers... and for goodness sakes, lay off the fries!

PG2:  This adult will admit that she has potty mouth and will with 100% accuracy not say ugly things in front of her two year old repeating daughter.  I'm such a bad momma...but I've always had a potty mouth.  Better fix that Haley.

PG3:  This adult will with 90% accuracy try to remain stress free and drama free.  My home/classroom will remain a stress/drama free zone.  Save the drama for yo' mama and I'll bet she even doesn't wanna hear it!

PG4:  This adult will create more financial opportunities by expanding both TPT and Teachers Notebook stores.  May as well, right?


PRG1:  The teacher will create more meaningful units (to include SS and science with reading and math) to make better lifelong learners.  It's only right and fair to make kiddos like school!  

PRG2:  The teacher will be more approachable to her students.  I'm guilty as sin... I sit at my desk in the mornings (75% of the time).  Sometimes I am at my door, sometimes around the room, most of the time not too happy.  Yeah, yeah, you're not a morning person, but get over it!

PRG3:  The teacher will incorporate more art (regardless!!) into all areas.  Creative minds = smarter kids!  Art makes you SMART!

We'll see how I do on these... trying really hard to come up with meaningful resolutions this year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

11 in '11 Linky Party

Here I am, on vacay in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and what am I doing? 

Blogging.  And a linky party at that.

I have a good's raining/could be snowing, the hubs is worn out from the 6-7 hour drive down I81 (which is like Clark Griswold would say, "the threshold of hell" on a good day, it was raining and WINDY!) and then it took 2 hours to go the last 15 miles because of traffic... AND when we got to our hotel, we checked in, opened up our room, and it had.not.been.cleaned....I mean other peoples' STUFF still in MY room, their trash, their sheets (ewwww!!!) their receipts, change, and TOWELS still in the room.  Luckily, I held my temper and called and got it taken care of QUICKLY.  The front desk was very nice and promises a deep discount on our stay, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise?  (Following optimism, right??)

Okay, I got side tracked.  See previous post about ADD.  Haha!

So, I'm looking at Google reader and I see everyone is doing the 11 in '11 linky party and I don't want to be left out!  So, thanks to Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher, I'm linkin' up!

11.  The favorite movie you watched:  Hmmm... not much of a movie person, but I did see one or two movies this year.   The Lincoln Lawyer was a pretty good movie :)  Matthew doesn't hurt the eyes, either!

10.  Favorite TV Series:  This is a hard one because I DVR sooo many, but I will narrow it down to two favs.  A long favorite of mine, Ghost Hunters.  Ghosts have always been interesting to me, dunno why.  I love reading ghost stories from Virginia (there is a series!!) and watching Ghost Hunters is fun.
and I also love watching Big Bang Theory.  How can you not love those guys?  BAZINGA!

9.  Favorite Restaurant:  I swear to you, I am only 30.  BUT my favorite restaurant is Cracker Barrel.  Where else can you go and get chicken and dumplin's and biscuits off the menu?  Drooling right now....

8.  New Favorite Thing You Have Tried:  That would definitely have to be blogging.  I was very nervous at first about the whole thing, but, it seems to have worked out!  I have a way to write and vent about teaching.  Not only that but I have found new buddies and neighbors, too!

7.  Favorite Gift You Received:  My new pillow....ahhhhh, cushy goodness....
6.  Favorite thing you've pinned:  

5.  Favorite Blog Post:  can I say that I don't have a favorite post?  Cause I really don't....

4.  Favorite Accomplishment:  opening up my TPT and TN stores and actually creating stuff... putting my creative genius education to good use!

3.  Favorite Photo:  This was taken last year, me and my daughter Natalie.  

2.  Favorite memory:  Holding my daughter for the first time.  2 days in the hospital (I was induced) and 45 minutes of actual labor (epidurals are G.R.E.A.T!) The nurse came in that night to check me (I'd been 5 cm for a L.O.N.G time!!) and she said, "Honey, don't cough, don't sneeze, don't sit up...I see your baby's head!"  Talk about a surprise!!

1.  Goal for 2012:  Lose a little weight, get a little smarter, have a little fun, work hard and make some kids smarter, and be a good wife, daughter, mother, and friend.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Attention, attention please!

Well, in a creative spurt that only took an hour few minutes, I created a new button for my blog.  The old one, well, to be frank Scarlett, sucked.  I made it and thought it was awesome, but after awhile, it just looked blah.  Annnnddd, it didn't really show what my blog was about.

The new and *improved!* button shows that I'm in a non-optimistic career (at times...let's say, 85% of the time).  My school is in year 2 of year 2 of school improvement (yup, I meant to say year 2 twice...we made AYP don' in math last year and are currently in a "holding" year for math) and each year, I feel like the list gets longer while nothing else gives.  It's really hard to focus on the kiddos when you have to piles of irrelevant paperwork.  Who cares if I have to contact a certain number of parents each week (which I do ANYWAYS) and keep up with that?  Does it make me a better teacher if I don't maintain a record?  Seriously?  sigh and defeat But I suppose you do whatcha gotta do.

My button also tells everyone that I teach the awesomest grade EVER.... And I do mean EVER!  2nd grade people....that's where it's at! And having taught 3rd and 5th grade also, I can proudly say that (bahaha).  

Side note:  I saw one of my former students that I had the PRIVILEGE to teach in 2nd AND 5th grade (how lucky!!!).  Now keep in mind I've only taught 7 full years, going into year 8.  I'm 5'7 and I was looking at this beautiful teenager at EYE LEVEL.  WTW?  Hard to believe they grow so quickly (and so freakin' tall!!!)

Then later I saw one of my current second graders and was happy to see that he was still way below eye level, restoring my faith completely.   No heels for this girl....not until PTC.  That's when I bring those puppies out.  All business! Bahah!

Yes this is a very random post, but I think after teaching, all teachers either develop ADD or get it from a contact high.  Seriously.  Having your own children doesn't help either.

And with that, please check out my new button.  Probably won't post again for awhile but I want to wish all a very Merry Christmas.  Enjoy what Santa brings (either watching precious faces or unwrapping your own) and enjoy your family.  

And since Stacy was so kind to me and giving me a shoutout- y'all, we are within like two hours of each other and teach the same grade...too cool!- check out my fellow blogger!

Stacy at 2nd Grade Paradise
She's got a lot of awesome ideas over at her blog, especially on her seating arrangements...go check it out!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2nd Grade Teachers Band Together! and a few giveaways!!

Enjoying my first day of Christmas break!  Even if it is 60 degrees and RAINY outside.  Weather channel even mentioned (cue Local on the 8s voice....) THUNDER possible.  WTW?  It is Virginia...December 21?  Wow!

Anywho... I've spent the morning blog stalking (between diaper changes, breakfast, coffee, Sesame Street, etc.) and found some awesome 2nd grade blogs.  I wanted to let you all know about a giveaway!!

Buggy for Second Grade is giving away a Winter Math Unit (OMG...everything I'm teaching and reviewing in the next few months in math!)  Go on over and check out her cute blog!  Good luck on the giveaway because she's giving it away to THREE people!!  Chances are good!

Hope at 2nd Grade Shenanigans is having a giveaway also...everything in her TPT store!  Wowzers!!!  Head on over to check it out and enter!

And Tara at 4th Grade Frolics is having a giveaway as well!  She's got some reallllly cool packets (I totally want the Snowman Boggle to go on my new Boggle board I'm making over the break!!!)  Head on over to check it out and enter!!

Working on a penguin unit for January... getting some ideas together so be on the lookout!  Pinterest, here I come!!!

I tell you, this is the 4th time I've gone back and added something to this post!  What a luxury it is to have time to read and find all these cute things on everyone's blog!  Just found this as I read through Ladybug's Teacher Files I saw this cute holiday card!  So, I'm following along and passing this to some of my favorite blogs!  Merry Christmas!!

This card goes to the following:

Staci at Going Nutty! (Sorry there isn't a squirrel on it! lol)

Sunny at The Caffeinated Teacher because she's outta Diet Coke and I think she needs some cheering up.

Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade because her TPT store has saved the day on more than one occasion in my classroom.


Tara at 4th Grade Frolics I just found her blog and it is awesome!

The Rules:
So, here's what you can do if you'd like to pass it on:

1. Grab the button and place it in your post.
2. Blog an entry sharing which blogs you are passing the card along to (no set number...totally up to you!).
3. Contact the bloggers you passed the card to, so they know you are sharing it with them.
4. Ok, I guess there's not really a number 4--just have fun and good luck with your holiday preparations!!! Feel free to post the button in your sidebar and in your blog posts.

I will try not to add anything else to this post....haha!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Another linky party... Cookies and Goodies

Sorrrrrry to post twice in one day, but I swear everyone is having these awesome linky parties going around.  Tammy over at Klinger's Cafe is having a Cookie/Goodie Linky Party and I HAVE to post this recipe to share because it is freakin' fantabulous.  My mom is awesome when it comes to cooking and desserts and she passed a little of that on to me.  This is one of her recipes that I've modified a little because of the sugar (we are just finding out within the last couple of years that diabetes is running through our family...I even had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my was only 3 months but it SUCKED...I can't imagine having to deal with that daily for the rest of your life.)  But I'll post both versions for those not so glucose-intolerant.  

Boston Cream Pie (without a pie shell!)
(you can add as much as you need to make as big a dessert as you need)

1 box of low-fat (or regular) graham crackers
1 thawed regular sized container of sugar free Cool-whip (any will do!)
1 large box of sugar free/fat free vanilla instant pudding
1 container of chocolate frosting (no scrimping on the chocolate...go all out or not at all!)

Follow the directions on the box of instant pudding.  Once it sets, add the Cool-whip and mix until well blended.  Layer the bottom of any dish (I use a 13x9 baking dish) with graham crackers.  Alternate layering the pudding mix and graham crackers until you reach the last possible layer of graham crackers.  Spread the chocolate frosting on top.  Cover and refrigerate.  The longer it sits, the better it gets!  I like it when the graham crackers have gotten just a little soggy...mmmmm.

Let me know if you make it, I tell ya, it's awesome.  Especially if you make it with the sugar free stuff.  I made it for my hubby for his birthday and he couldn't tell it was made from all that sugar free stuff.  Enjoy!!

Currently...linky par-tay

Well I am taking advantage of a sleeping husband and a grandma babysitting the 2 year old to play on my blog and catch up on my reading.  Poor old Google reader... 

Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade is hosting a Currently linky party. I thought I'd join in on the fun. Join in if you can...and if you've never visited Farley, you are in for a treat :)

Hope you can play along!  Happy Sunday and one week 'til Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Did you think I'd forgotten about you?

Well, the craziness is almost over.  I had to take a mental health day Friday to go visit two separate doctor offices (one for me, ya know, the fun one you go to once a year...) and my daughter's two year check up.  It's sad that those visits were more fun than crowd control at school.  Sheesh.  Whodathunkit right?

I still have two more days to go next week.  Tuesday is going to be our fun day/I give up trying to teach you something/Christmas party.  We are having an ornament exchange.  All the kids (hopefully) bring in a wrapped ornament and they get to pick one to take home.  Sometimes I play Dirty Santa with it, but my kiddos this year don't really have a sense of humor (aka...very immature 7, 8, and 9 year olds) so I don't think they would appreciate the fun.  When I taught 5th grade I did that and the kiddos had a blast.  I had one try to hide her gift in her desk just so it wouldn't get taken by someone else!  Monday I haven't exactly figured out what I'm going to do other than maintain some sense of routine.  I've got some Christmas activities and math graphing that I've prepared for, but hopefully it'll get done.  Anyone have any fun ideas?  

Here is the Reindeer Job Application writing activity that the kiddos did last week.  I have gotten SO many compliments on them.  The kids just BEAM when someone peeks in the door to say how cute they are.  I'm proud of them because this is the first writing project they've had to follow the steps to the writing process.  AND they get a little keepsake for all the hard work.  I really hate to take them down, but pinterest is just floating with cute ideas that I'm sure to use.

We also did the Christmas penguins I found at Amy Lemon's page and the kids really liked making those.  You can see some of the crazy ways they decorated them.  

You can see my classroom has been BLOGIFIED!  (and I absolutely love it!)  I feel  so much better about teaching since I've found all my new friends and ideas out on blogland.  Instead of either scrapping art all together, I've found new ways to incorporate it into my curriculum.  I really think the kids are learning more because it's sticking with them.  So please keep sharing!  And when I get two brain cells clicking in the right direction, I'll try to come up with goodies for you.  

2 more days....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can we say countdown?

The countdown is on.  On like DONKEY KONG!

Anyone else feel like they're fighting a losing battle?  Cause this girl does.  Next Tuesday can't get here quickly enough.  Although....{happy dance!} I am taking off Friday to take little girl for a checkup and me for a checkup....darn if it didn't fall on a Friday {wink!} So two more days for me this week.  Just have to write sub plans which I absolutely HATE.  Can't they just read my mind?? :)

My kiddos just finished their first big writing project of the year.  We have really been working hard to learn how to write sentences with a capital letter AND the correct endmark AND have it make sense AND not a run-on that has about 50 ANDS in it like this sentence does.  Thanks to all of my many hours on pinterest and blog hopping, I found a really, really, reallllllly cute writing activity - Reindeer Job Application from What the Teacher Wants and the kiddos were so excited to actually get to work on all of the steps to the writing process.  They even got to "conference" with *gasp* "the Teacher" before they wrote their final draft.  I took pictures but my phone just died and I won't can't get up to get the charger to get the pics off my phone.  I'll post them tomorrow along with some of their qualifications. Some of them are pretty darn cute....swift like an eagle is one I remember off the top of my frazzled head.  I was very proud of their hard work.  AND.....I've gotten lots of compliments on their work.  That never hurts either :)

So, until tomorrow my dearies :)

Hang in there.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Patterns and a freebie!

Anyone else about to go slam crazy at their class?  Mine are so wild today!  I can't keep them occupied...grrrrrr!  I hate to be a Scrooge but I'm looking at my behavior chart right now and I have 3 students on red, 4 on yellow, and one across the hall in a different class because students was RACING.TO.THE.BOOKSHELF not once, not twice, but three times.  I watched student.  I counted to five. %& !#@$% I.COUNTED.TO.FIVE.AGAIN. *&^(*@&#(^!*#& :)

I had just finished with a really cute lesson on patterns.  This is a review from 1st grade so it went really well and the kiddos picked right up on it.  We made a foldable and folded a piece of paper into fourths.  Then we labeled each box with AB, ABB, ABA, and ABC patterns and drew an example of each with Christmas themed pictures.  

Well, since inspiration helps to calm my frazzled, frayed, and {} nerves, while my kiddos were finishing up extending their patterns, I made this freebie to share with you, AND to celebrate hitting 20 awesome, fantabulous followers!  I know 20 is small potatoes compared to some blogs, but for 2 months into this journey, I am excited!  Y'all know how to make a girl feel appreciated!  

So, here's your freebie.  

And two questions.....

How are your classes handling the rapid decline to Christmas break?  What are you doing to tame the wild beasts?  Lump of coal in the stocking seems a little outdated lol.  

Ugh...faculty meeting in 30.  I can do it....I can do it.....Can I do it??? :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas M&M Math fun

Yesterday, my kiddos did an awesome math lesson using M&Ms.  Anytime you can do math and chocolate together is wonderful in my book.  They were super excited when they saw me measuring out candy in Ziploc bags.

One of my co-workers and friend :) found this activity on TPT and asked if I thought our grade level would like to do it....heck yes!  As previously stated, chocolate and math?  Can't go wrong.... except maybe adding some coffee, but ya know, dealing with 7 and 8 year olds!

Anywho, if you like the looks of this activity, head on over to TPT and download it.  The best part (cue the heavenly choirs of angels singing....) is it's FREE!  Not a dime!  

Count out 3 groups of 10 and pick a number between 0-9 for the square.  I had more in the bag but that was our treat!

Then we drew our candy inside the circles and square.

My copy done on the document camera!  Good place value review.
Then we sorted by color to make our tally chart and get ready for our graphs.

We made a pictograph and a bar graph.  Since we had so many M&Ms, we had to make our pictograph M&Ms equal two instead of one!  Someone forgot that our key was by 2!  A VERY hard skill to do when the graph is already made, but to make a student recreate that....sheesh....still practicing that one :)

We finished off by looking at our data and coming up with two facts that we could prove using our data.  The sentence starters really helped!
The kids really liked this activity, especially when I told them they could eat the M&Ms after they were done.  I used the Christmas mini-M&Ms from the baking aisle because they were lots cheaper per bag and the kids could work with "more" M&Ms and practice with a higher 2 digit number rather than just a number in the teens.  They thought the little ones were "cute".  

Try this if you can, I think you'll like it.  And, if you are a SA like me (sugaraholic anonymous) you won't want to keep these bags around too long.  I had to do it Monday so I wouldn't eat the whole two bags I bought on Sunday!  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two awards? Who moi? Awwww shucks!

I tell ya, a good day just keeps getting better, and it's only 9:20!  Yes, I'm at school, and yes, I'm on my planning, but I HAD to post this!

I got my first AND second awards y'all!

Thanks to Staci over at Going Nutty in Miss Squirrels' First Grade, I was awarded the Liebster award for an up and coming blog!  Feeling the love!!  Thanks Staci!!

The goal of the award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are:
  1. copy and paste the award on your blog
  2. thank the giver and link back to them
  3. reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
  4. hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers

So, here are my picks!

AAAnnnnddddd. number two!

The Sunshine Award rules are
1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. And pass the award to 10~12 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know you awarded them.

So a HUGE thank you to Lisa at Live, Laugh,and Love to Learn for this award :)  Really feeling some love today!

* Favorite Color? Tough choice... gonna go with blue (and pink!)  But during football season it is Green!!! Go Pack!!!! yeah, even southern ladies like some northern football :)

* Favorite day?  Fridays - my sweet daughter was born on a Friday :)  annnnnd it's TGIF!

* Favorite Animal? My sweet Shih-tzu Lucy- yes, she is sleeping on a giant Elmo.  :)
* Favorite Drink? Diet Dr. Pepper

* Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

* Your Passion? My family (wonderful hubs and daughter)
* Giving or Getting Presents? Can I say both? hehe- I love to shop for others, but every once in awhile, it's nice to be thought of, too!

* Favorite flowers? tigerlilies
Now to nominate.... wow. Who to pick???

Well, I don't want to OVERDO and give out too many awards, hehe, but I think 9-10 between the two is sufficient!  :)  I have some pics I'll post later of my kiddos doing a Christmas M&M math graphing/place value activity.  They thought it was awesome.  I have to agree. :)

Thanks again for those who sent these to me.  I do feel very humbled that someone is reading what I have to vent, scream, yell, complain, say.

Okay, so I finished this at 4pm this afternoon :)  Didn't get very far this morning!!