Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Literacy Centers!

Lately, I've been bored with my centers.  I have quite a few in my rotation, but I really wanted to mix it up more.  After making some new purchases thanks to PTO money, I was more motivated to actually come up with something!

The first center is definitely not something I created....all I had to do was order it!  I plan on integrating something else into the center later, but for now, my kiddos are just getting used to taking care of these plastic pieces!

I also purchased a pocket chart with my PTO money.  I had one pocket chart but it was being used as my center work board.  A while ago, I inherited a free pocket chart stand so I don't know why I waited so long to actually buy a pocket chart!  Each week, I put in a new song for our letter of the week.  My kids LOVE singing.  At pocket chart center, my kiddos get to use these "star pointers" and sing the song!  This helps build fluency.

This last center was inspired by some free ABC stencils that my mother-in-law gave me.  I wasn't sure how I wanted to use them so I decided to create a center.  I made a worksheet with 3 columns: word wall word, stencil, magnet letters.  My students pick a word wall word card out of our ABC pockets (interactive word wall) and record the word.  Next, they "write" the word with the ABC stencils.  Last, they build the word with magnetic letters.  The kids love the multiple steps and manipulatives! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Pinterest Inspired School Project!

In my classroom we love making class books!  My kids love making them and they REALLY love reading them!  We've been mastering syllables lately so I combined 2 ideas from Pinterest to create a new class book!

Here is my inspiration:

Source: emmi.co.uk via Emily on Pinterest

We have a binding machine at my school but the pages always fall out of our class books and it is SO tedius putting the pages back into those plastic spirals!  I decided to give this (free) option of binding a try!  All you need is a paperclip (or a few) and rubber bands!  It didn't work out as well as I would have hoped, but so far, it's holding up pretty nicely in our classroom library!

As you can see, I had to improvise and use small paperclips (I'm totally out of the jumbo right now)!  It still worked ok and we just had to talk about why it's important that we do NOT mess with the special binding! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hello, Third Trimester!

I'm 27 weeks and I'm officially in the THIRD trimester!!  Seriously, I can't believe how time flies!  I am still feeling great but I'm ready for time to SLOW down!  I feel somewhat prepared for Carson but when I start talking to other mommas, I start feeling kind of anxious.  I have a feeling that I'll never feel totally prepared and I'm starting to finally be (somewhat) ok with that! 

According to the Bump, Carson is now the size of Cauliflower.  I think I might create my own food comparison chart because the foods on the Bump are rarely apetizing!  Measurement and weight estimates are the same as the past couple weeks.  You can read some of my other updates here!

How far along? 27 weeks....starting out the third trimester!
Total weight gain: I'll say somewhere between 10-15 but I honestly have no idea.  My next appointment isn't scheduled until mid-March so you can all be in suspense until then!
Maternity clothes? For shizzle!  (Yea, I just went there...)  I love my maternity jeggings from Old Navy and really wish I could wear jeans to work!  My work pants aren't so bad but I miss my Express dress pants! (scroll down for TWO new bump pics!)
Stretch marks? no
Sleep: Pretty good but in the mornings I feel either super awake or super tired - it is never consistent!
Best moment this week: We got a TON done in the nursery after our trip to Ikea this past Saturday!  I will be posting another nursery update soon!  If you missed the last update, you can read it here.
Miss Anything? Not this week :) 
Movement: Carson is a little less active, but still has kicking sprees (which I still love).  I'm hoping to schedule a 3D/4D ultrasound so I can see him moving in there!
Food cravings: I've been eating tons of bananas but I don't think it's a craving, I'm trying to avoid more charlie horses!  I also HAD to have a DQ twist cone dipped in chocolate the other night.  It was delish!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!
Gender: Baby BOY Carson!
Labor Signs: No
Symptoms: A symptom I've had that I had forgotten to mention was acid reflux!  I've heard this is the same thing as heartburn but I really have never had either so I don't know!  All I know is that sometimes when I am in bed after eating a snack (aka every night), my throat feels burn-y (nice vocab, eh?) and I sometimes feel like I'm going to throw up in my mouth.  So lovely!  Luckily it goes away if I drink a bunch of water or just walk around a bit!
Belly Button in or out? VERY shallow innie...... :/
Wedding rings on or off? on and loose still!  I'm paranoid that they're going to get tight and stuck so I'm constantly messing with them!
Happy or Moody most of the time: SO happy!
Looking forward to: getting the call for the recliner we ordered!  I am SO impatient because I just want to set it up and sit in it!  I called the store to check on our order a few days ago and they said it looks like it will arrive to their store on Thursday (today)!  Fingers crossed...

And now for my newest bathroom bump shot!  People at work have finally started to say that I look pregnant and they can tell I "popped"!  :)
27 Weeks!
First front shot :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tasty Tuesday!

I know we're past Valentine's Day and on to (and even past) Presidents' Day BUT I wanted to give a quick recap becaues I have a few recipes to share for Tasty Tuesday!
Valentine's Day fell on conference week for me so we weren't really able to go out to dinner during the week.  I worked 12 hours Monday and 10 Wednesday so Tuesday I wanted to RELAX!  Since I didn't have to work late Tuesday I made one of Nick's favorite dinners: Spaghetti Pie.  This is one of the easiest recipes and can be customized in so many ways:

Spaghetti Pie
-2 cups (approximately) cooked spaghetti (I like using angel hair)
-1 jar of sauce
-1/2 - 1 cup cubed chicken, cooked (you can buy the refrigerated bag or cook it quickly in the skillet)
-1/2 cup cubed cheese (you can use anything...Velveeta, cheddar, mozzarella, etc.)
-1 tbsp. parmasan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Combine all ingredients in gallon sized ziplock bag and smash/mix together until everything is well blended. 
  • Pour ingredients into a 9" glass pie dish
  • Stick in the oven for about 15 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parmasan cheese
  • Serve with garlic bread and wine!  (or in my case, sparkling grape juice!)

I also made Nick a dessert.  Every year for Valentine's Day, I try to do a love-y dessert.  I'm not super creative so that usually ends up being something red/pink or something in the shape of a heart.  Last year, I made Red Velvet Whoopie Pies and he loved them so I figured since it had been a year, I'd go with those again.  Seriously, these are SO easy and so delicious!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs (I always use Egg Beaters...)
1 can vanilla frosting, whipped
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs until well blended.  (The batter will be STICKY)
  • Using a cookie scoop, place dough about 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet
  • Using a glass dipped in flour, flatten the cookies to about 1/2" thickness
  • Stick in the oven for 6-8 minutes
  • Allow the cookies to cool completely
  • Ice the bottom of a cookie and press another on top like a sandwich....voila, whoopie pies!
I like serving mine chilled :)
In the process of flattening with a flour-dipped glass....

After baking - nice and fluffy!

The final product....oh so tasty!

Wondering what I got for Valentine's Day?  We don't really exchange gifts but I got a super adorable homemade card (heart melts!) and a bouquet of flowers!  Nick knows I love flowers especially in the winter when our garden is bare and ugly!  He picked stargazer lilies (our wedding flowers) and dutch iris (a flower we planted in our garden this past fall)...so thoughtful!
I got Nick a waffle iron because he has been wanting one FOREVER.  I have to admit, it's a pretty smart gift considering I got waffles in bed the next day!   You might wonder what type of waffles my lovely husband made for me........chocolate chip, of course!  Delish!

And just for a bonus, here is a bump picture Nick took over the weekend.  We went out to eat where my sister serves and this is after a big dinner!  :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nursery Update!

I promised you all I would give you an update on the nursery soon so here we go....

Let's start out with some BEFORE pictures!   The walls were builder Bone (seriously, that is the name of the color M/I painted our house).  This room had previously been used as my office.  Complete with hand-me-down white sheer panels, my degree, and DIY message center!  Fancy schmancy, right?

Once we totally cleared the office out, I patched the (million) holes in the walls.  After that, I decided to do a layout of the furniture we were looking into buying.  The room is small so I wanted to make sure everything would fit ok.  My husband thinks I have OCD.  He might be right......

Before we could settle on a paint color, I decided to put Carson's clothes away.  A lot of these will eventually be in his dresser, but it was fun to hang everything up.  I'll admit that I've bought a few outfits here and there, but most of these have been gifts!  Carson is so loved already. <3

 Next step was paint!  We decided on Schoolboy Blue by Valspar.  I always use Valspar (except for one room in our house).  I like the price and quality of the paint.  You can see the paint in other pictures in this post but since I used my cell phone, it's hard to see the actual color.  Here is a swatch:

I also changed out the curtains.  I knew I wanted energy efficient light-blocking curtains and I found these for only $13/panel at Walmart!  I know it's hard to tell, but they're navy blue with brushed nickel grommets.  I'm obsessed with grommet top panels (I may only have two windows without them...).  I originally was thinking about being brave and doing green curtains but they didn't look right with our wall color.

Here is the most exciting part of Carson's room so far....his crib!  We got a great deal on this and had it shipped to our door for less than a dollar.  Very nice! [/Borat voice]  The bedding is Dwell Studio Dot Fun Blue from Target.  I love love love the bedding but I'm sad because the crib skirt is no longer available.  Any ideas for that?!  I'm thinking I may just end up doing a solid chocolate brown...?
We also went and ordered our "glider".  We ended up getting a leather rocker recliner and it is beyond comfy!  We plan on using it in a living area once we're done with it in Carson's room.  While we were at the furniture store, I found this lamp for only $19 and had to have it.  I'm excited about a pop of green in the room!

Any advice on wall decor or anything else for Carson's room!?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

26 and Lettuce!

I seriously can't believe I'm 26 weeks already!  Apparently nobody else can believe it either because every time they ask how far along I am, they stare at my belly for an uncomfortable amount of time before telling me that I'm "so small"!  Seriously, stop!  I'm glad they aren't saying I'm "so huge" but I can't help what size I am!  Plus I love my little bump!  I know pregnant people always say this, but time is flying! 

According to the Bump, Carson is now the size of lettuce.  More specifically, a head of lettuce.  They say that a 26 week baby measures about 13.6-14.8" and weighs about 1.5-2.2lbs.  I guess the stats didn't change much from last week but I'm sure he's growing in there!  They also say his eyes are forming and will open soon!!

How far along? 26 weeks!
Total weight gain: Most of you know I don't weigh myself at home.  Mainly because my scale gives way different numbers than my doctor and I want to remember the CORRECT number!  At my appointment last week I was up 10lbs.  I don't go to the doc again until mid-March so I'm going to say 10-11 at this point....
Maternity clothes? Yep, still!  I bought another pair of maternity work pants with a return credit that I had from Christmas.  They are my first "full panel" pants that I've worn and I thought they would be weird, but they aren't too bad!  I do have to pull them up a lot though which can be annoying!  Still a mixture of maternity and non-maternity tops! (scroll down for a new bump pic!)
Stretch marks? no
Sleep: I've been sleepy and sleeping GREAT, but doing a horrible job waking up in the mornings :(
Best moment this week:  We got the junction box installed so that we can install a ceiling light in Carson's nursery!  This Saturday we're headed down to Ikea to pick up his dresser, bookshelf, wall ledge, and light!  Can't wait :)
Miss Anything? Nope!  I discovered decaf coffee recently and that has helped my lack of Starbucks lately!  I also had a craving for diet coke so Nick bought me some caffeine free diet coke. 
Movement: Carson is VERY active still!  The other night he was flipping around like crazy so I told Nick to hurry and feel and Carson IMMEDIATELY stopped.  It was so funny.  Nick put his head up to my belly and said, "Carson!  Why did you stop?!" and Carson kicked him in the face!  Haha, too funny :)  Already a momma's boy!
Food cravings: Fruit still and I like to have something sweet after meals even if it's just a tiny piece of chocolate!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope! 
Gender: Baby BOY Carson!
Labor Signs: No
Symptoms: A new symptom this past week: leg cramps!  I'm still not sure if it was actually a "Charlie horse" but it happened a few times while I was sleeping and I would wake up with a totally stiff calf muscle and my muscle would feel HARD.  It was so bizarre and painful but if that's all the pain I'm dealing with now, that's totally fine!
Belly Button in or out? innie still....and still nervous!
Wedding rings on or off? on and loose still!
Happy or Moody most of the time: Ecstatic still!
Looking forward to: Our trip to Ikea!  After we get our Ikea goodies, Carson's nursery will be almost fully furnished!  We're also still waiting on the call that the chair (recliner) is ready to be picked up!

Here is what you have all been waiting for.....my latest bathroom bump shot!  I keep telling Nick that I need some REAL (read: non-bathroom, non-cell phone) bump pics but when he offers to take them, I'm in my yoga pants or not feeling a photo shoot!  Go figure.  So here I am at 25w6d:

P.S. I may have dyed my hair the other night...can you tell?  I was getting sick of my natural color because it looked brassy to me in pictures, yuck!  This was the day after I dyed it so it was still pretty dark....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A DIY Valentine's Day Treat!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!  As a lot of you know, I teach intervention (reading and kindergarten).  Because of this, I haven't planned any Valentine's "parties" since my students will already be exchanging cards and treats in their homerooms.  I still wanted to do something small for my kids so I decided to make a little Valentine treat!

I saw this idea a long time ago for teacher appreciation week and I loved it! Who doesn't love s'mores?!

Make Your Own S'more Goodie Bag (supplies are for ONE bag, multiply as needed)
2 graham cracker squares
1 jumbo marshmallow
1 miniature Hershey bar
1 gift bag
1 gift bag tag/label

All of my supplies cost $10 and I made 24 bags!  I found the Valentine's gift bags in the Target dollar spot.  (Where else?!)  I made my own labels on Word and it was super easy!  The front of the label says "We need S'more students like you!"  The back of the label has instructions on how to prepare the s'more:
"Place one graham cracker on a microwave safe plate, top with chocolate and a marshmallow.  Microwave on high for 12-15 seconds or until marshmallow doubles in size.  Top the marshmallow with the remaining graham cracker.  Press slightly to secure.  Enjoy your gooey chocolate treat!"

Here are my supplies all ready to be assembled:

 Folding the labels during parent-teacher conference night:

 The finished product:

Such a fun and easy treat for the students!  I also had a few extra supplies left over so I could make a s'more for myself, yum!

We're also reading some Valentine's books today/this week....

Tasty Tuesday....a Valentine's Treat!

This post is about a week and a half past due, but I have a feeling you'll still appreciate what I'm about to share!  Make this for your Valentine!! <3

My friend Kelli invited us over to "watch the super bowl".  Translation: The boys watched the game in the basement while the girls hung out upstairs with snacks!

I agreed to bring a dessert (duh) and found something super yummy looking on Pinterest: Rolo Cake Mix Bars!

Lately, recipes with as little ingredients as possible are appealing to me.  Wait, who am I kidding?  Those kind of recipes are always what I'm looking to make!

Here is what you'll need.....

Rolo Cake Bar "Cookies"
1 box (18.25 oz.) cake mix (I used yellow but you can choose your flavor!)
5oz. evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
40 Rolo Candies, cut in half

*Preheat oven to 350°
-Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
-Using an electric mixer, beat cake mix, evaporated milk, and butter until well blended.
-Divide the batter in half and press one half into the bottom of your greased pan.

-Stick in the oven for about 8-9 minutes.
-While the cake is baking, unwrap and chop your Rolos!

-Remove the first layer of cake from the oven and top with chopped Rolo candies.
-Drop remaining batter on top by the spoonful.

-Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
-Allow to cool, cut, and serve!

Here is one of my bars.  The batter on top didn't spread out as much as I wanted, but they were still pretty tasty!  Next time I might modify the recipe a bit to try to make the top layer more spread out....