Thursday, December 27, 2012

"I think it's interesting that 'cologne' rhymes with 'alone.' " - Demetri Martin

Tonight is one of those "self pity, I'm a single mom nights!"  It started when the Kindle Fire that Grace got two days ago wouldn't charge. It's ending with I have to attend another event ALONE!! Although it's a time of holiday spirit and cheer, this is the time of year my self pity sets in. I TRULY can't stand that!! But most of the time I can't stop it.

So Grace's Kindle Fire wouldn't charge and the thoughts began.... I'm tired. I'm truly tired of being alone and having to make every decision. every time, fix everything that happens, and somehow keep everything together. I know so many people have issues that are WAY worse than mine, but I have to say this is EXHAUSTING! Then I responded to a reunion invite, where I will go, on my own, again. Just reminding me that I haven't found the right person yet (AND I'm OLD!!).

Not having anyone to help with decisions, lean on emotionally, financially (especially this time of year), or having that person just to come home to, that will tell you it will be ok. It's hard, but livable. I envy those who have found their soul mates and know what it's like to go home to your best friend every day.

And then I get mad at myself for having this pity party. In my head I'm yelling at myself, "GET OVER IT! How do you miss something you've NEVER had?! This is the life you've chosen. And you need to focus on Grace, your priority!" I haven't done too badly for myself. And God wouldn't want me to envy others, but in fact be happy with what I do have, even the opportunities and things I need to do alone.

And so,  try to focus on that. Focus on the great people I will see at this reunion, and the fact that somehow the Kindle Fire is charging again!! And that it's pretty cool that I'm a girl who can fix toilets, catch mice, and take care of a good kid on my own. Yes.... THAT is where I need to focus. All else will fall into place in time...when it's supposed to.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store."- Grinch

I'm in the Christmas spirit today. After the first Christmas series at church and baking cookies with Grace while listening to holiday music today, how can I not be!?!?

I have read a million blogs and seen pictures in envy of how these people decorate their homes for Christmas. They are beautiful! Literally, they look like they are out of a Pottery Barn catalog! And then I look at our decorated house. You know, the house that looks like Santa threw up all over it because there is so much red! I was jealous of the blogs I read until I really sat down a looked at ours.

This year I have truly fallen in love with the way our home is decorated for Christmas. We mostly decorate with Christmas art projects Grace made in daycare/preschool and things we have inherited from my mom. Our decorating is absolutely family oriented.

One Christmas decoration I adore is our manger. Every year I wish I had the Willow Tree manger set, but then I see this... and the little manger we inherited from mom just makes me smile and I'm so glad we have it.

But my absolute favorite decoration is a gift from my grandmother, who is deceased. One year she seemed so happy to give me Christmas....RABBITS!!! I remember thinking, "What in the world do these have to do with Christmas?!" At the time I thought they were the worst gift ever, but now, I adore them. They make me smile.

Do you have any weird Christmas decorations like that? Comment about them and show us some pics!! :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon." ~Anonymous

If you don't know already, I'm a second grade learning support teacher. I've been wanting to share tips I've found or the ideas I get when I need to "wing it" in the classroom because my students are staring at me like deer in headlights! So I thought I'd create "Teacher Thursdays" for my blog. I'm thinking of creating a whole new "teacher blog" but for now I'll just start here.

First, I want to share two of my favorite teacher bogs. I set a goal to be more organized at work, and so I started with Mrs. McDavid who I found through Pinterest here. I LOVE this site and it gave me tons of ideas. Most important is became what I call my Lesson Plan Binder. It has so much more than lesson plans in it!

The other blogger I found through Pinterest was Mr. Smith from Teacher Tipster. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dude! He's quirky like me and has amazing ideas that he vlogs about to get kids engaged. Make sure you check him out!!

So all that being said, here are two ideas for writing I'm using in my classroom right now.

Many of my students are in OT for writing. They just love to write....NOT!! To encourage neat handwriting and correct sentence structure I found an idea on Pinterest called Spotlight Writer. I got a desk lamp, a clipboard, and a picture stand. Anytime I see good handwriting or good sentences, it goes up in the spotlight!

My students LOVE this and are working their tails off to get in the spotlight.

**Disclaimer** Beware of those that will now take twice a long to do their work because they are working so hard to make it neat!!

The other idea I wanted to share was our How To Writing we did last month. I had planned for the kids to write a How To about getting ready for school. BOOOOORRRING! But, it was easy and I already had the graphic organizer to go with it. That was the plan. Until the morning of the lesson....

That day my daughter was moving slower than a slug and was giving me the "I'm so annoyed by you mother" attitude all morning. That's when I got the idea....How To Drive Your Mom Crazy!! My students LOVED writing this piece!!! They were so into it and are proud that their writing is displayed in the hall that includes a picture of them with their moms! :)  (Of course I forgot to take a picture of the display, so I'll have to check back later! Sorry!!)

So there you have it. Some "Teacher Tips" for you. What do you think? Should I create a whole new blog for teacher tips? Leave your comments!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"After about three days, shouldn’t "clutter" be upgraded to 'decor'?" - Unknown

I have believed that quote to be true... until they started that darn show Hoarders, (which I love) and feel that I have to throw out 50% of belongings every time I watch it! Who isn't fascinated by that show and then motivated to get crap out of your house?!
Two summers ago, I was looking for a new hobby to do at home. I did the normal google and Bing searches. Somehow I discovered this lady, Cas. She's from Canada and soooo much like me! She was once a hot mess and has now become an organizing genius! Plus she's hysterical! I love her sense of humor. You can find her website here.
Anyway, I discovered one of her videos about her home binder. Do you have a bunch of schedules, calendars, and papers hanging on your fridge?? I did! And it drove me NUTS every time I opened the fridge door and a bunch of papers fell off the fridge and I'd have to keep putting them back on! UGH! Can you say ANNOYING?!?!
Well apparently, in the organization world of Stay At Home Moms there is this phenomenon called the Home Binder!! Cas describes her's here. I adjusted and made my own! :)

I will share each section of my binder and what I keep in that section just to give you an idea. You should adjust it to accommodate your family.
The first section of the home binder is the "Calendar" section. I have one calendar in a clear sleeve for each month. That way I get an invite or something for 3 months from now I can put it in the calendar and I keep the invite or things I may need for that month, like birthday cards, behind the calendar in the sleeve like so....
Section 2 is labeled "Contacts". Here is where I keep a form for babysitter with emergency numbers, Important Numbers like famly, friends, and physicians, a "address book" of sorts, Neighborhood numbers and Restaurant numbers that we may use (with their take out menus behind it in the sleeve).

The next section is labeled "Finances". I don't have much in this section, because I created a bill/finance binder that is separate recently. However, I still have a quick reference of phone numbers for utilities there for now. I'm sure eventually I'll eliminate that section all together.


Section 4 is the "Cleaning and Maintenance" area. Here is where I keep my daily, monthly, and "spring" cleaning lists. I will admit, I've made a daily cleaning checklist on the fridge. This is because I'm one of those out of sight out of mind people. So, if I need to do something everyday, it needs to be in a place where I see it everyday. Plus I LOVE checklists and crossing things off! However,  I still reference this section all the time. If I have spare time I try to do an extra spring cleaning chore per day... OK, week....OK, at least one a month! Jeez! (Feel free to comment if you want to know the items on any of these lists.)

OK we are half way through the binder!! Next section is "Entertainment" where I keep all of Grace's extra curricular activity information and schedules.

The next section is labeled "School". This is where I keep Grace's class schedule, lunch menu, etc.


Only 2 more sections! This section is labeled "Daisy". She's our puppy. I was going to make her a binder of her own, but its not really necessary. So I keep her Vet records here.


The last section is labeled "Holidays". Here I have worksheets by month where I list birthdays and anniversaries. Behind that I have my Christmas card list because I got tired of sending cards to those who never sent me one, is now I keep track like a moron! Behind that I have a clear sleeve where I keep Christmas gift receipts in case there are any issues!


Well that's if folks. Fine tune it to what your family needs!! Promise you will LOVE this system! :)
How do you keep our family organized?! Leave a comment!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?" - Erma Bombeck

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was wonderfully relaxing! All the adults bring something to dinner to help the host out. This year my mom had us all bring desserts. When she told me my aunt wasn't making the apple pies she traditionally makes, I was sad. They are always so good, and remind me of the apple pies my grandmother use to make. However, I can understand why she didn't. My mom and I always only eat a sliver. No one else eats it. So it's a bit of a waste.

Unfortunately, I CAN NOT have Thanksgiving without apple pie! Where could I turn? Oh yea! PINTEREST! Of course I can't find the exact recipe I used, which is bad news for me. But I have this one posted on my Favorite Recipes board here.  

So, since I didn't write the recipe down, and can't find the exact website, I will just show you some pics of the process....

I started with Red Delicious apples. Most people use the green granny apples (including my aunt I believe) but I thought it would be fun to try something new!

I peeled about 5 apples with a peeler, cut the apples with the slicer, and then cut them into smaller 1/2 inch pieces.

Then I mixed the slices with the rest of the ingredients that I can't find online! UGH! (Sorry this is an epic fail blog!)
I used crescent rolls, flattened them, and then cut the bottom crusts using a mason jar lid to make excellent circles. (I'm so cheap frugal that I used 2 different kinds of rolls, so that I didn't have to go buy more!)
I placed them in cupcake tins, filled the cups with the apple mixture, and  then topped with butter.

I used the rest of the dough to use as a top crust and brushed the top with melted margarine.

Baked according to the crescent roll package directions and here is the final   result!!! Mini apple pies! No wasting! What we didn't eat I froze and made for dessert a different night! They were a success!
What was your favorite dessert this Thanksgiving? Please post and share!

Monday, December 3, 2012

"It's just another Manic Monday." - Bangles

So, last week I was stuck at home sick. In between drug induced naps, I kept staring at this stain on my couch that has been there for months!!  A few months ago, I was watching my nephew and he was playing with the puppy. The pup nipped him in the nose and he bled all over my couch and carpet! I tried desperately to clean it up with stain remover but it left this horrible stain!

(sorry for the blurry pic...remember I was heavily medicated at the time!)

As I lay there getting more and more annoyed with the stain, because I was actually home with time on my hands to look at it, I remembered I pinned something on Pinterest about cleaning microfiber couches here on my "Cleanliness is next to godliness" board.

It looked easy enough! Use rubbing alcohol to remove stains. Ok! I was in, because in my sickness I could not tolerate it any more!! I needed to make a few adjustments to what Julia used in her blog, just because I was too sick to go out to buy a white sponge and a white bristled scrub brush. Here's what I did.

I had the rubbing alcohol! (Yay me!) So, I put it in an empty clean spray bottle that I had, then saturated the stained area. I didn't have a white sponge, so I scrubbed the heck out of it with an old white wash cloth. Here is how that looked.


HOLY DIRTINESS!!! I almost threw up in my mouth there for a minute, it was that nasty! After I scrubbed I let it dry for about an hour. By the way, it will smell! So open a window and turn on a fan. The smell of the doctor's office will go away in no time.

When it dries, it's a little stiff. So I took a bottle brush since that is what I had, rather that the white scrub brush Julia used, and went over the dried area in circular motion for a few minutes.

I CAN NOT believe the couch AWESOME-NESS that I saw afterwards! It's like I have my brand new couch back!!! Of course I immediately decided to do the entire couch, but was so worn out half way through I stopped. I noticed a few stubborn stains, but NOTHING like before. Julia says in her blog if you go over those stubborn areas about 2 days later, most of the stain will be removed.

PS- I did eventually do the entire couch. But I'm still recovering, so I haven't gone back to take care of those super stubborn stains.

Happy Cleaning! :)