Monday, December 03, 2012

Outfit of the Day: Mustard and Zebra

Mustard. The pair to ketchup and the color of fall.

See how I did it!

1. The scarf actually started it. :) I found this gem for $4.98 at Target. Also, the website says black and white. They straight up lied or I'm straight up color deficient. It's navy and white. ;)
2. I've had this mustard peasant top for years. I scored it at Target for (if I remember correctly) around $12.00. Still fits, still awesome!
3. The skirt was a NY&Company find on clearance about a year ago. It's a couple inches too short for school, but not immodest yet! :) This puppy was less than $10.00! :)
4. The earrings were a clearance find at Target also. $2.98. :)
5. I'm sure you're tired of hearing about Target's clearance rack, but the blazer was quite the find at $4.98 about a year ago. I just wish I had snagged a black one too!
6. And those shoes... again, Target clearance. $4.98. :)

Grand total for the outfit was $39.92. But I purchased the top in high school, and built on the outfit using my frugality and clearance rack skills. Each piece is versatile, which makes the purchases more worth my while. I try not to spend even regular (Target) price on anything that is seasonal or trendy. These pieces can be mixed and matched for years!


Test Kitchen: Cornbread Cupcakes

About a year ago, I joined some friends for dinner at a soccer game. Chili and cornbread were on the menu, and before I knew it, I had consumed four pieces (since it was a cake). I asked for the recipe, and finally made it Friday afternoon.

One Jiffy muffin mix
One yellow cake mix
The extras that go with both mixes.
Mix it all together, and bake as cupcakes! :)

They are simply delectable! A perfect mate for soup, or totally wonderful as a solo act!


You've been RACKed.

So, my thankful November bombed. I didn't realize how busy life would get, but between coaching varsity girls basketball, taking two vacations totaling a week and a half, and teaching school, my free time was sparse. I love having an outlet for what creativity I do have, but I'm not ready to be completely tied to my blog. We'll see how things change in that department!

I found the idea of "RACKed" on pinterest, and I feel bad not citing it, but I have no idea where it is or where to start looking... So, I'll share a little of my project for December.

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness

Starting December first, I'm trying to make a difference by stepping out of my comfort zone and doing a random act of kindness. :) Days one and two are below. Some are small things, some will hopefully be bigger, but I'm trying to focus on others this Christmas season since selfishness sinks in way too often.

December First: I spent some time with some dear family friends baking and playing games with the kids. After I got home that evening, I packed up some goodies and waltzed over to my new neighbors apartment. Emily and I introduced ourselves to two new girls who just moved in. I'm hoping that this is the beginning of a bridge building time for us!

December Second: I made up a couple extra Christmas Party invitations for my roommate's and my Christmas "Extravaganza" this weekend. I dropped one off at my new neighbor's apartment, and one at my older-neighbor-whom-I-haven't-seen-in-forever's apartment. :) Lord willing, they'll at least stop by this weekend! :)

I'll keep you updated on my future RACKed activities!


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Thankful thoughts; 2012 ed. 11.01.12

I'm going to try to post every day in November as a means to focusing on the blessings around me. :)

Day one: I'm really thankful for the people in my life. It's broad, but I'll get deeper as the month goes on. :) I'm thankful that I'm given daily opportunities to pour my heart out to people. What a tragedy it would be if I kept all the love I had just stored up and growing stagnant. Every day, I'm given numerous chances to pour it out. And I love that. My prayer is that I use all of my days for that, even the ones that are only fueled by duty and sugary coffee (may those be few and far between).

"Be a flowing river of blessing, not a stagnant pool of entitlement."

Monday, October 22, 2012

How to... (words of wisdom and direction from my kiddos)

Recently, my second graders had an English assignment that required them to write their own directions for an activity. Our first try was writing instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I acted out their directions and gave them a sandwich that their directions made. Only two of my students had peanut butter and jelly on their bread and only one actually ended up with a sandwich.

I'm pretty sure they learned at least a little from it though!

The day after we wrote those instructions, I had my kids write a set of directions on the topic of their choice. Here are some of their writings...

"How to make s'momes."
1. First you get marshmallow.
2. Second you get the gram cracker.
3. Third you get the choclet and roste the marshmallow with the thingy.
4. Then you put it together.
5. Last of all you eat it.

"How to write in print."
1. Write straight.
2. Keep writing your letters.
3. Do capitil first.
4. Then lowwercase.
5. Then you should get it.

"How to set the table."
1. Put plates on the table.
2. Put napkins next to plates.
3. Put a fork on each napkin.
4. Put on knives and spoons.

"How to play dodgeball."
1. First, put balls in the middle.
2. Second, when the teacher says go, go.
3. Third, get a ball.
4. Then, if you get hit, your out.

and my two favorites...

"How to make frends."
1. First, be nice.
2. Second, share yere toys.
3. Thrird, help them wen they need it.
4. Next, say nice thing abeat them.
5. Finally, play with them.

"How to make firends."
What is needed: niceness, kindness, playness, ask
1. First, you ask someone to be your firend.
2. Second, you have to be kind.
3. Thirdwhen it is time to play at recess, you play with them.
4. Finally, you have made a firend.

These kids sure know how to make a teacher smile. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Do it anyway.

I don't often (and maybe I really should) pass on words written by others, but today, I stumbled across this entry by Mother Teresa. Full of wisdom and full of grace.

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

Such a poignant reminder to live for the perfect One who made me, not the imperfect others along life's path.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I am...


As I was getting ready for school yesterday morning, I got out my Starbucks tumbler, and filled with one of my favorite drinks... chocolate milk. I laughed to myself as I walked out the door. Most people fill their Starbucks cups with all the caffeine those walls can handle. Me, I do sometimes, but more often than not, I have chocolate milk in my cup. :)

I walked into school and passed by my boss and a group of highschoolers that beat me to school. My boss remarked, "Starbucks already?" I smiled to myself again, shrugged my shoulders, and replied, "Nope. It's chocolate milk." He got quite the laugh, and I realized that somedays, that's just who I am.

I am chocolate milk in a Starbucks cup.

I'm a "grown up." Some people refer to people in that category as "adults." I still haven't quite figured that one out. But somedays, I just feel like I'm a child in a grown up's body... chocolate milk in a Starbucks cup. And yesterday was one of those days.

Friday, September 21, 2012

easy peasy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

When I got the first glimpse of fall weather, it was all tights and soup for this girl!!! I was craving some broccoli cheddar soup and since my teacher paycheck doesn't allow daily trips to the place that holds my heart... Panera... I had to fend for myself. :)

With the help of pinterest, I found several (what looked like) good recipes for soup. I found a few crock pot recipes that will come in handy soon, but I just wanted something I could whip up after work. I stumbled across a blog that has three weeks of cheap meals that can be prepared in 15 minutes. :) There was a simple broccoli cheddar soup recipe, so I ran by Walmart, grabbed a couple ingredients, and was ready to go!

The recipe calls for:
1. Two cups of condensed cheddar cheese soup (Next time, I'd like to try one can of cheddar soup and one can of potato, but it was still way good!)
2. Three cups frozen chopped broccoli (I was lazy and didn't chop mine. I should've.)
3. Three cups of milk
4. One cup of frozen potatoes O'Brien in a pot (I cheated and just used frozen cubed hashbrowns. I have a TON left over!)

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Done! Its delicious! I picked up a French Baguette too, and it was the perfect complement to this tasty, cool weather, dinner. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

batting .250 in the fish tank.

I left town for the weekend to visit my parents, and several people mentioned that they thought my post about my fish drama was just hilarious. So awesome. You take pleasure in my sorrow and stress. Great...

I was able to stay at my parents' until Monday morning since I only had parent/teacher conferences that day. I came back to my classroom hoping that my fish hadn't starved, so I went straight to the fish food, and sprinkled some in. Only Johnny was swimming around. I looked along the top of the water for Captain. No sign of him. Wonderful... I looked at the filter since the water looked kind of nasty, and Captain was plastered to the front.

Dead fish in tanks look just as gross as the ones at the river. So, I panicked (I'm getting pretty good at that...). My first parents was due to walk in the door in five minutes, and I'm terrified of swimming creatures... and many others, actually. I didn't want to stick my arm in there, so like a good teacher, I took a pencil, pried the little guy off the filter, and waited til he floated. I got out a cup that used to hold paperclips, and I got him out. By. Myself.

 I very carefully and dramatically took him to the women's restroom and was very careful not to flush him in my usual stall. I don't need any more nightmares. I said goodbye (in my head) and I flushed him. I threw away the pencil and cup, washed scrubbed my hands, and made it back to my classroom with a manner of seconds to spare. My batting average may not be that great when it comes to fish, but it's about that of most of my favorite Cardinals. I guess I should just join their club.

And I sure hope this is the last you have to hear about my fish tales.

Now to figure out how to tell my students...


Friday, September 14, 2012

a tale of my fish and their tails. a tragedy.

This story starts back in fifth grade when my teacher told our class that we were getting a gecko. That day never came. I told my students that I'd consider getting a fish this year since our classroom theme is "Under the Sea." I didn't want my kiddos to remember me as the teacher who didn't keep her word.

On Labor Day, I headed off to PetSmart to buy some fish. I decided on a red platy and a yellow platy. They were super cute (about as cute as fish can get) and they were a dollar. I also got two mollies. They were all black, and just neat looking fish. Sure enough, our tank looked fabulous!!!

The next morning, my students came into the classroom and were surprised to find four fish in our room!!! I was on cloud nine. :) Not even five minutes later, one of my new parents came in. She took a look in the tank and said to me, "Oh, are those black mollies?" I smiled and said, "Sure thing! I thought they were cute!" She then informed me that I had purchased two fish that were known for breeding. Great. But it gets worse. After they breed, they eat their babies. Winner. I hurried the kiddos off to their seats and tried to distract them from the tank. I checked the tank a few minutes later, and sure enough... There were about a half dozen fish babies swimming around. I had bought a pregnant fish. For the win.

I panicked and thought through all the options. Leave them and teach my students about the reproductive and life cycles of molly fish? No thanks. Get one out and flush him? Uhh... I don't do pets. There was NO way my arm was going in there. A friend of mine came in after school and took one of my molly fish up to a different classroom that has a bigger fish tank, so they would be separated.

I was down to three fish. And four babies. But we could cross that bridge when we came to it. If we came to it... But, alas, there are no babies left...

I decided that my class would vote on fish names. They were HILARIOUS. Our red fish was Captain America. Our yellow fish was Johnny on the Spot. And our black one was Mustang Sally (our mascot is the Mustang). I just thought my kids were the greatest!!!

About a week later, one of my kids came up to me and very calmly stated, "Captain's tail is all messed up." I told them that he was missing part of his tail when we got him, and that he would be okay. They seemed a little concerned still, so I looked closer. Sure enough. Most of his tail was missing. When teachers don't have the answers, they turn to google. So I did. Google (or possibly yahoo answers) let me know that sometimes mollies are very territorial and will attack other fish. Awesome. My first issue of severe bullying and injuries as a result. :(

The next day, I checked to see if the situation had gotten any worse. Indeed, Mustang was chasing Johnny around and nipping at his tail. I decided that was it. I got one of the junior high girls (with a prior history of animal control) out of class to come to my (and Captain's) rescue. I told her that she could either flush it or take it upstairs, but that I didn't want to know so I didn't have to tell the kids. So, during recess, Mustang joined Nemo... out at sea. And now I'm on the hunt for a nicer fish.

This concludes my episode of fishy drama in second grade... at least for now...


Friday, August 24, 2012

Roasted Chicken and Red Potatoes

Emily and I had a couple lovely ladies over for dinner last night, so I decided this was another chance to explore pinterest and look for a recipe. I spotted one that looked easy enough and pretty tasty to boot!

This is not my picture, but I realized I didn't take one. So this looks exactly like mine, but with a different counter top. ;)

I put this together ahead of time, and it would even work for a night before prep!

4-6 chicken breasts
Red potatoes
Green beans
Packet of Italian dressing/seasoning
1 stick melted butter

Lay the chicken in the center of a 9x13" pan. Place potato chunks along one side, and drained green beans along the other. Sprinkle packet of Italian dressing/seasoning across the top of the chicken (disclaimer: I didn't use the entire packet because I got nervous, but it tasted wonderful regardless). Pour the melted butter over the dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

This dish was a hit, and SUPER easy. Perfect for a potluck, or just a quick and easy dinner!