Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Gift As Good As Gold

My friend who I have taught with a few years ago got a placement as an Assistant Principal at a different school. We are so proud of her because there were over 100 applicants and ONE spot open. We definitely needed to do something to celebrate and that's where this golden idea came in. I can't take full credit for this gift idea because my friend Cindy also helped dream up this little beauty.  Get it, get it?? Because we are the old friends, we are the gold... Haha, it might be cheesy but we love it!

We bought the box at Target on clearance and then I just cut out some letters using my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine and modge-podged them on there.

The pictures really don't do it justice.

On the inside it is like a gold bonanza! We saw these adorable gold office supplies by Nate Berkus at Target. It was perfect! Can you just imagine the disciplinary matrixes she can staple together with that fabulous golden stapler? It really is a sight to behold.

All wrapped up with a pretty sparkly bow and ready for gifting.

So cute - I kind of want to keep it for myself but that might be rude.... right?  ;)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Five for Friday

Yay for summer break! I am kind of sad that a week has already gone by in a flash! Hopefully the rest of the summer will go by really slowly. I know, yeah right...

Here were my top 5 from my first week of summer!

1.  I know I technically already blogged about this, but I am so so so glad that I repainted this desk.  It makes the room look so much brighter and happier.  I have been meaning to do it forever and finally got it done on Sunday. Happy dance!

2.  My vegetable spiralizer came yesterday and I am so excited to use it! Do any of you all have one of these? I would love some good recipes to use if you have any!

3.  I had ordered these little cuties a long time ago and they came in this week also (geez, it sounds like I shop a lot).  My husband is a big Star Wars fan so this is really the only way that I can sneak in a little embroidery into the house. They are so itty bitty!

4.  Tomorrow we are going to Tucson for the day and I am really excited! I have only been once before.  There's a few things on my to do list but I don't want to ruin it since I will most likely blog about it sometime next week.

5.  Tonight I have a dinner with some friends celebrating one of our own who got an Assistant Principal placement recently. We are so excited for her and there was some stiff competition! We made her the cutest little present and I will share more about it tomorrow, but here's a little sneak peek. :)

I hope you all had a marvelous week and if you aren't out of school yet then hopefully you will be soon!  Be sure to link up to Doodle Bugs Teaching to share your top 5 from the week.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Hello" Yarn Bubble

I have a TON of mustard yellow yarn leftover from the wedding. I could probably knit you and everyone else in your family a sweater with how much yarn I have secretly stowed away.  Because of that, many of my crafts are *shocker* made from yellow yarn!

I saw this pin on Pinterest not too long ago and knew that I had to replicate it. It's got the perfect combination of color and quirkiness that fits right into my home. Except, I am not going to put a picture of the original because hers is way better and you won't want to read my post anymore.

The original creator of the "hello" bubble, used stretchy fabric for hers which would probably have been a way better idea because yarn took FOREVER. It was a nice little mindless task while listening to music so if you have an hour to kill, go for it.

It's really cute because you can put it practically anywhere. I tried several different places until I was happy with where it settled.

Nope, not here. It doesn't stand out enough against the paint color.
Nada. The hello isn't even pointing at the deer. That's just silly. Plus we all know that deer don't say hello.
Cacti can't say hello!
Ah, here we go, I kind of like it here. It adds a nice center focal point to the mirror.
I liked it in the center of the mirror because the mirror is just a little too classy as is; it needs a cheesiness factor much like everything else in my home! I can't get a good picture in its new home, so enjoy the fuzziness that is my masterpiece.  I'll probably move it tomorrow.

Don't forget to read the tutorial on how to make this bad boy. And just remember; don't be like me, don't use yarn.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Desk Makeover and a Surprise!

Oopsies on the countdown! I should've known better than to do a blogging extravaganza during the last week of school. I always forget how much there is to do until you are in the midst of it year after year. To celebrate being on summer break, I decided to do a little desk makeover that I have been wanting to do for a really really REALLY long time!

This desk (we'll name her Penelope) has been in my family for years. My parents gave her to us to have in our home a little before we got married. I used this secretary's desk when I was younger to do my homework on and she has definitely been loved by our family.  Unfortunately, because she has been in so many moves, she has definitely seen better days. I don't know if you can see very well, but the legs are especially scuffed up.  Penelope had some serious nicks and scrapes and even thought I loved the beautiful stained wood, it was a little beyond repair.

Here is the makeover...

Ahhh - there we go, that's better.  I know I am not the first person on the planet to paint a piece of furniture, so it hardly seems blog worthy however I feel like it is such a transformation that I had to share. To be honest, this bad boy was quite a labor of love.

We had to...

1.  Sand it.
2.  Sand it again.
3. Wipe it down.
4. Dang it, sand it again.
5. Prime it - it turns into a gross pink because of the stain. George suggests we keep it that way... we move on quickly after that suggestion.
6. Paint it.
7. Paint it again.
8. Paint it for a 3rd time.  Let it dry for a day.
9. Put on the knobs and move it into its special place admiring your handiwork. What? The drawers don't open and close with ease anymore because of the paint? Eh, deal with that another day.

I got the knobs from World Market and they make the desk fancy.

The color is called Icy Mint in Valspar's Paint and Primer in One (semi-gloss) from Lowe's.

The color makes me happy and totally transforms the room.

In other news and slightly random - I'm on the cover of a magazine! Bet you didn't know you were reading a cover girl's blog post! It's kind of silly, but that doesn't mean I can't pretend to be a celebrity. So weird though, no one has offered to give me freebies - I even had to buy my own dang magazine! Haha!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

End of School Countdown Day 6 - Breakfast

Oops! A day late on my end of school countdown. Oh well, better late than never right?  Since I have to drive so far to school (about 45 minutes) I usually leave pretty early in the morning and I am not usually hungry at the crack of dawn.  I usually need something healthy, filling, and on the go. Here are my three favorite go to breakfasts from this school year.

Creamy Chocolate Avocado Smoothie from Against All Grain

I know you are thinking, ok Heather, a smoothie for breakfast? That's not really filling... Trust me, this one is! It has avocado, banana, almond butter, almond milk; it really does fill you up and keeps you satisfied for a while.  I think it is absolutely delicious and you really can't taste the avocado.

Overnight Maple Blueberry Oatmeal

Oh my gosh, I just love this. This has been my go to breakfast for so long for so many reasons: it's easy, you can make it the night before, it is so portable because you can make it in a half pint mason jar.... I really just can't say enough good things about this.  When blueberries are on sale I buy a ton of them and then flash freeze them. That way I can make this year round no matter if I have fresh blueberries or not! I just put a small handful of frozen ones in when I make it the night before and they turn out perfect the next day.

Avocado Toast

I don't really know how healthy this is, but it is darn tooting good. Just grab some bread, whatever your poison is and toast it. Put some Veganaise on it and top with some sliced avocado. Smush the avocado a little bit, put some Spike seasoning* on it, and a little squirt of lemon juice.  Sooo delicious!

*If you haven't tried Spike seasoning you should because it is pretty tasty. You can find it in most grocery stores in the dry spices section.

What are your go to early morning breakfasts? Do you have time to eat breakfast at home in the morning or do you have to take it on the go like I do?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

End of School Countdown Day 7 - Remembering Our Best Moments

I just love Graffiti Walls! I decided to put one up in the hallway and let the students "go to town" remembering back on their favorite moments throughout the year. Well, "go to town" might be a relative term, there are four magical rules that go along with our graffiti wall...

I have loved seeing what stuck out most to our students throughout the year. Of course, everyone is picking the most recent event which was field day, but some students have been reaching for the stars a little more and going back in time more than 3 weeks.

Here are some of my favorites...

This student wrote about when we mummified hot dogs in the science lab. It was totally disgusting but fascinating to see how the baking soda preserved the hot dogs much like natron preserved the mummies in Ancient Egypt.

This girl cracks me up! I am not sure why this is her favorite moment, but it just fits her personality so well. I am also not sure why her nickname is "Hobo" - just go with it and don't ask questions, I do.

Of course the teachers need to take part in the festivities. Here's mine.

Quite a few students need to still complete their square and it has been a little difficult to find the time to have them go out in the hallway to finish.  It's been a cute end of year bulletin board and a fun activity for the kids.

What would you write on your graffiti wall from this school year???

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

End of School Countdown Day 8 - My Adorable Students

Have you ever had that group of kids that just makes your heart melt? I have been through a lot of classes and a lot of grade levels and this one is my favorite group by far.  They are so kind and considerate of one another and have this perfect combination of innocence and maturity.  They make me want to come to school every day and become a better teacher. They inspire me every day with their good hearted nature and ability to have a great attitude no matter what lands at their feet (well, haha, most of them at any rate).

I have to tell you one quick story and, no, this post doesn't include any freebies or pictures - it's just a good old fashioned story. The names in this story have been changed for confidentiality purposes but mostly it's just fun to come up with quirky nicknames. 

We had field day a few weeks ago and my class was just getting slaughtered - by slaughtered I mean every other class was beating us in EVERY event. My class definitely does not have talents when it comes to hand/eye coordination.  

We were playing kick ball and we were versing another class in our grade level. The other team was on the field and we were up to "bat".  The next student up to bat was Wolfgang. Wolfgang never really hangs out with other kids and is kind of a loner; he marches to the beat of his own drum and often will be seen skipping and playing by himself.  The kids all really feel protective over him though.  Wolfgang goes up to kick and we all brace ourselves as he kicks the smallest little bunt you have ever witnessed. As he races down to first base, something happened that I will never forget.  The other class started messing up purposely to let him get a home run. One girl, Prudence, kept picking up the ball and dropping it, over and over again. As Wolfgang rounded second base, one boy (we will call him Sasquatch) dove over the ball in a dramatic fashion completely missing it by 3 feet.  The ball was then thrown clear out into outfield so far from any human occupancy.  As Wolfgang crossed home plate, we all cheered our hearts out for him. He was so excited and I was bawling like a baby behind my heart shaped sunglasses.  

It's moments like that that make me so honored and blessed to be their teacher. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

End of School Countdown Day 9 - Classroom Management

This isn't the most revolutionary idea for classroom management, but it's a cute one.  I got this idea from my mentor teacher during student teaching and have been using it ever since. It's a "May Bag". Do you all use this or have ever seen it? I love it, but to be honest things very rarely get put into the May Bag these days. When I taught 2nd grade it got a lot more use because it would be filled with random legos,  action figures, etc.

The idea is relatively simple and we have all encountered it. A kid brings something to school and even despite a friendly warning/reminder, they continue to play with it. The mighty May Bag now enters into the equation.  Once a toy goes in there, it stays until May (dun dun dun!!).  The last day of school I go through the May Bag and it is always pretty funny because the kids either had completely forgotten about their item or no one even knows who it belongs to.  I had to make a rule that if there is any arguing over an item and its owner, then it gets "put away until next year" (aka usually thrown away).

Here's your very own May Bag sign for your classroom. Make sure you choose a jazzy, flashy bag - the more attention getting the better! ;)  Click the picture below for the link to download. Enjoy!

Monday, May 12, 2014

End of School Countdown Day 10 - Coffee

How I love thee.  

I understand everyone may not appreciate this post because not everyone likes coffee. My husband hates it and I have been perhaps a little persistent (aka downright forceful) at trying to get him to like it. I have this fantasy that when we are old and retired we will drink coffee together in the mornings in our rocking chairs out on our fabulous porch. And that fantasy just gets ruined if he is drinking a soda! But I digress, back to the topic at hand. :)

I don't know about you all, but there are some mornings that I just want iced coffee. Especially here in Phoenix, it gets so toasty the last thing you want to do is cuddle up to a nice mug of hot joe.  Iced coffee is such a pain because if you pour hot coffee over ice, it just gets all watered down and then you have this weird cold, watery, burnt tasting coffee. Yum...

I saw on a blog the idea to make iced coffee overnight in your french press and it is AMAZING and totally works.

The night before when you are getting ready for the next day, put however much coffee you would normally use in your french press with however much water you would normally use on top of that. I usually pour in two cups of water and add in 4 heaping tablespoons to that.  That might be a lot or too little, everyone is a little different about how much coffee they put in their machine.  

Ignore my messy fridge.
Stir together and push the lever down, just to the liquid level and then stow away in your fridge over night. The next morning, push down the lever into that dark mud liquid gold and that my friends is the best iced coffee you are ever going to make at home.  I usually just add milk or half and half at this point and enjoy!

A little variation that I have done in the past is to add like 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and part of a cinnamon stick (2 inch piece) to the coffee liquid the night before and that's delicious! More of a special occasion iced coffee.

If you love sweetened coffee but want a more natural sweetener, you can mix a little maple syrup into your milk or half and half.  Swirl them together in the glass first and then add your iced coffee and that is super delicious too.  

Have you all ever tried this? If you don't own a french press and are a coffee fan, you should definitely make thine way to a store nearest you to purchase one.  They are amazing!  I hope some of you can use this "recipe" and share any variations that you discover with all of us! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Countdown Begins

It's almost summer!!! 10 more school days are all that stands between me and freedom. Well at least for a week until school starts. I thought I would use these ten days as a blogging celebration and each day blog about a theme of something that has gotten me through my year which, by the way, has definitely been my best year of teaching so far. Who would've thought year seven would be the lucky one?

Day 10:  Caffeine (I mean, let's be honest, that should probably be #1, obviously)
Day 9:    Classroom Management
Day 8:    My adorable students
Day 7:    Remembering our best moments
Day 6:    Breakfast (random, yet essential)
Day 5:    Organization
Day 4:    Giving Gratitude
Day 3:    Routines
Day 2:    Home
Day 1:   Appreciating the little things

Anyone else close to the end of their school year????  How are you celebrating?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day with a "Treat"

Mother's Day is right around the corner (as in tomorrow, if you haven't thought about it you should probably hop to it).

Treat Greetings is a company through Shutterfly that really is a showstopper when it comes to cards.  I was so impressed with the great quality of the paper that the cards are made from and the variety of the designs and styles to choose from.

Even the shipping envelope is cute for crying out loud.

They have so many options to change and personalize any card that you choose and that's what makes this company so creative and versatile. Not to mention that they also have super cute digital card options which I intend to use for my parent volunteer at the end of the year!

I loved that you could add a little picture to the back of the card. I added a picture of my mother in law's "grand babies" aka our dogs.

To go with this wonderful card, I decided to craft my mother in law some burlap banners. She just moved into a house and no one likes blank walls.  She saw this online and asked me to replicate it with some leftover burlap that she had.

In order to take up more wall space I decided to make three separate "signs" rather than a banner.

This was the final product.

What you will need to make these are:

  • 1/4 inch copper pipes (3)
  • 1/4 inch copper pipe caps (6)
  • Jute twine (found at Walmart in the home improvement section) and colored yarn
  • Chalkboard spray paint
  • Heavy card stock
  • Tacky glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Burlap
First I used a shape to trace onto the heavy card stock and then cut them out. I just used some leftover card stock that I had in a color that I probably would never use again. Might as well recycle while gifting! :)

Spray the paper with the chalkboard spray paint.  It took me a few coats to get even coverage.

While that's drying, braid the twisted jute twine and the yarn together.  You don't have to add the colored yarn, but I thought it would be a nice pop of color since burlap is just so beige.

My braids ended up being around 24 inches (2 feet) long each and that seemed to be good length with extra room to spare.  You may need to glue the caps on to the copper pipes because mine were pretty loose.

Next step, cut a round rectangle out of another piece of card stock to use as a template to trace onto the burlap.  Make sure you make it a little taller than you would want normally so that you have an inch or so extra fabric to wrap around the copper pipes with the hot glue later.

Once those are cut out you can start gluing them to the copper pipes.  This was kind of hard to photograph but just glue as you wrap the burlap around until it feels secure. I only wrapped it around once and it felt fine and sturdy. If you scroll through the next four pictures really fast it might feel like a moving picture show! :)

Did you enjoy that??? ;)

Tie on your braids into knots on to the ends of the copper pipes. I didn't glue my knots down because I liked the option to slide the knots wherever you would want them. Cut away the excess braid.

Now you can glue on those spray painted card stock papers.

Just use a thin layer of that tacky glue and it will be perfect.

And voila! You have some beautiful hand crafted copper chalk board signs just begging to be hung up on your wall.

Chihuahua photo bomb.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there! You all are incredible and I admire all of your hard work, patience, and unwavering love for your children! I hope you are given a day full of love and pampering that you so deserve. :)