Sunday, September 11, 2011

Photo Finish

And...drum roll, please....we have pictures! My August craft project was my classroom. I reorganized furniture, created new bulletin boards and lots of little touches. Here is my favorite project.

It's my Wonderful Word Choice Wall. Each pocket has a tired, boring and/or overused word on the outside. The sticks filling it include more interesting and exciting words to take its place in student writing. You can't see them, but there are blank sticks below for students to add to the pockets throughout the year. We are beginning our Word Choice unit next week in writing, and I'm hoping they will begin to get good use out of this project.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having "Fun"

Whew! It's been a long time since I've posted. Just want to let you all know, I am still here and I am still working on each and every one of my goals. The beginning of this school year has taken a lot more effort than years past - and it's been hard to keep up with anything outside of it! We've also had some technical difficulties at home with our computer(s) - long story I'd rather not share because I am pretty technologically inept in comparison to my husband. This is a scary thought since at work I am one of the more technologically adept individuals. I fear for our youth. But I digress....
I have some great photos of my newly organized classroom with all new ideas, including my organized classroom library- a goal, of course. Wouldn't you love to see them? Me too. However, our aforementioned technology issues are preventing me from currently downloading them.
I continue to work at weight loss, as well. This is going...well...okay. Not great, but I have NOT gained weight, so I am viewing this as a success. I am hoping the coming weeks will calm down some, and I will have more energy for healthy meal planning and exercise. I thank all of you that have checked in on my progress, and I truly wish I had a big new number to share with you...but I don't...just yet.
Goal number nine of becoming a bone marrow registrant is becoming more a reality, too. We recently learned that I have a close family member in need of a bone marrow transplant. We are hoping this family member's sibling will, of course, be a match as that is the best case scenario. However, if not, I fully intend to jump in line and offer myself up, as does Adam. I won't disclose any more details about my family member as this person has asked for things to remain private. We also met some neighbors recently who lost their 2 year old to leukemia fifteen years ago. They hold an annual garage sale to raise money for Light the Night for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Adam and I participated in this event a few years back in honor of a former student of mine who survived leukemia via a non-familial bone marrow transplant. (And again some great photos I can't share due to this darned computer!) Anyhow, this cause keeps coming back to me, and it's time to do something about it.
I also continue to enjoy looking at photos of living room furniture online, but have yet to purchase anything. We move slowly when it comes to large purchases. Lord knows how we'll ever manage to buy a house!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Silence Is Golden

Yes, I know I have not been good about keeping this blog up recently. Yes, I will do better. No, I have not been crafting much, or working out much, or anything else much except get ready for the new school year. My fellow teachers (retired, too!) know what this time of year is like. Yes, I have had the multiple back to school dreams. If you don't know back to school dreams, they typically go something like this - it's the first day of school and nothing is ready OR it's the first day of school and your class is a compilation of all the most poorly behaving students EVER. I've already had both. I even had one in which two co-workers were engaged in an illicit affair - but for their sakes, I won't say anymore. This year, in the spirit of my crazy, hyper motivation, I am redoing and adding a lot of different elements to my classroom. So, this has been my recent focus and has been fulfilling my crafty nature and my recent need for excessive organization. When the classroom is complete, I promise to post some pictures, as I know many other teachers are following my blog and may be interested in my ideas - mostly stolen from other teachers' blogs and not my own.
Oh yeah, we also took a trip to Michigan. It can't be my trip to somewhere I've never been because, well, I've been there. However, it was fun and beautiful and all the good things you can say about a trip. Here are a few of my favorite photos. There aren't many since I left the memory card in our computer (in Kansas), and it took us a few trips to local (unfamiliar) stores to find a new, right one. I apologize for the layout being a little wack-a-doo, but I don't want to mess with it anymore tonight.
Play time with our adorable nephew, Evan
Goofing around with our beautiful niece, Reagan

Men making fire for s'mores on the beach...trickier than you think!

Reagan and Evan enjoy Lake Michigan with their mom, Sara (Adam's sister), after s'mores.

Our private beach view - just for Adam and I on this occasion! Best part of the trip!
Stayed tuned for my new classroom early next week!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Technical Difficulties

So sorry to those of you who have been waiting for my next crafting adventure! When I came up with the idea for this one, I thought to myself, "That will be so easy!" Yeah, best laid plans and all of that. And, so I gathered up my materials, assembled all the parts, and prepared to attach it to the desired location. This is a project for the kitchen, so I marched proudly into the kitchen and over to the location to smack it on there...only to find the location was not magnetic...and I had made a magnet. Sigh. Velcro to the rescue! Here's where I tell you the super secret location - it's the dishwasher. What do dishwashers do? They wash dishes, right? At VERY HIGH temperatures, right? And then what? Oh, they dry them! At VERY HIGH temperatures, too! Melted Velcro glue equals not sticking. It is at this point that I think about giving up. But then I realized how darn cute this thing was and knew it had to serve its purpose. So, I went shopping and came home with the world's strongest glue, guaranteed in the most extreme temperatures, of course. Ta da! So far, so good. Take a look.

Cute, right ? So simple, even I figured it out...eventually. Just take an old CD (or a really bad one you are embarrassed you even own), jazz it up with some scraps and lettering, maybe a cute little ribbon like moi. Run a layer or two of decoupage glue over the whole thing and let it dry. I also gave mine a light spray of acrylic sealer. However, before doing anything to the backside, please check that your dishwasher is in fact magnetic. It will save you a lot of trouble. And if not, I highly recommend Elmer's Stix All.
So then I have this project all finished up, photos taken, ready to post and the storm of the century comes along and knocks out our Internet for many, many long hours. Thankfully, the hardworking men and women of Time Warner Cable were on it, and we were back up and running by mid-afternoon! Whew!

Side note : Some have asked about my other goals, and most are coming along swimmingly. They just aren't has fun to post about! Here's a quick rundown: I have lost 6 pounds, gained a ton of energy already, started two service projects which you can read about in prior postings, got Adam to say he would go shopping for living room furniture with me, have cleaned out one LARGE box in the garage, have all the materials ready to go for organizing my classroom library, have cooked recipes from two cookbooks which you can also read's been a busy month!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stacey's Delight

As promised earlier, craft project #2! This is a cross stitch using a pattern from Check out this site if you like cross-stitching at all. It's hilarious, and the story behind it makes it even better! Here is my version.

And for those of you that may not "get it", please enjoy this clip.

Dollar Tree, How I Love Thee

I've nearly finished the second craft of my monthly craft project goal already. I just needed a simple and inexpensive 5x7 frame to finish it off. So, I made a stop at my new favorite place...Dollar Tree. Yes, a dollar store is the new love of my life. I quickly found my frame (just $1!) and the wandered around looking for more great buys. There are so many to be had there - yes, a lot of generic products - but also a lot of "real" products, too. However, my favorite find today were these:
Yes, they are bins. Whoopity do, you say? Yes, whoopity do! These are just want I have been looking for to organize my classroom library. If you want any, well that's just too bad...because I bought them all! At four different Dollar Trees. Yes, I drove to four different stores to stock up on these sweet babies! And yes, they are kind of flimsy - definitely more generic than Rubbermaid. But, let's face it...the average age of the users of these buckets will be approximately nine or ten years old. I could stock my shelves with bins fortified by bulletproof material, and they would find a way to destroy them within seconds. I'm now completely ready to organize as I've also purchased some very cute labels I bought with money donated to my classroom through Unfortunately, these are trapped in the confines of school, and I can't share them with you at the moment. However, I will most definitely share the completed project in the coming weeks...or perhaps months...we'll see how longs this endeavor takes!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Couple of Things Minus 5

In my overzealousness (is that word?) to accomplish my tasks, I ended up with two separate service/volunteer projects to be working on side by side. Thankfully, the two projects go together very well, and they both have an infinite timeline. This means I can do each of them each month for the rest of the year, and I will have met this goal to volunteer monthly. I'm sure Adam and I will still participate in Operation Christmas Child like we do each year, and we may do another stint sorting at Harvesters or filling back to school backpacks for needy kiddos.
However, I decided to do something different this time around - and to do it on my own. Through an organization called, I've "adopted" a soldier. He's a Sergeant in the Army and currently on his second deployment in Iraq. He has a wife and two young children at home in Las Vegas. I've been able to correspond with him via email, and I am scheduled to send him a care package each month. It's an extremely rewarding feeling to know you are doing something so little for someone doing something so big. I forgot to take a picture of my completed box to share, but it's really very simple if it something you are interested in doing. Go to, and you can help, too.
My church is large. No, it's humongous. No, wait, it's ginormous. A friend of mine calls it the Church-a-Palooza. Because of its size, however, they are able to offer endless volunteer opportunities. Recently, homelessness has become a top story on the nightly news due to its rapid increase. Our church provides many opportunities to help these individuals, and I decided since I was already shopping for my soldier, I could shop for them, too. I'm making six sack lunches a month (six...that's it!) that will be delivered to the homeless via Westport United Methodist Church. Again, this is easy and inexpensive. If you are interested in something like this, visit my church's website at You don't have to be a member to volunteer, and there really is something for everyone. Here is a shot of my lunches, prepped and ready to go, each one with what I hope is an inspirational message attached. 

During all of my do-gooding, I was able to find time to prepare yet another recipe from one of my numerous cookbooks. This was a crock pot recipe that Adam chose. We agreed it was bland and totally boring. Not bad, but definitely not good. I won't bother to share it with you, other than to say one more cookbook down and to share this darling picture of my husband. 

 On a side note in relation to goal number one - I am down 5 pounds in two weeks. Perhaps if I keep making that last recipe, the weight will just keep disappearing...