Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It {July 29}

Where did July go?!?  I can't believe Thursday is August 1.  I need to get moving if I am going to accomplish all I planned this summer.  Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics keeps me creating; linking up with Tara again today.

Impossible Coconut Lemon Pie (or bars in my case)  The picture doesn't look like much.  The recipe was super moist; I would have preferred more of a lemon flavor.  I even added some lemon zest; could have still used something more.  This is one I will keep experimenting with.

Broccoli, Grape and Pasta Salad  This seemed like a very strange combination of foods to me, but it was very good and somewhat addicting!  I made it for a potluck, but would definitely make it again for a family gathering or lunch for a week.

I've been busy with some back to school "basics".

Hallway Clips: These clothespins (covered with ribbon from Wal-Mart...the perfect width) have thumb tacks glued to the back (used E6000).  I had them on my bulletin board in my classroom last year, but this year they are venturing out into the hallway to make my displays out there easy to rotate.  To space the pins, I clipped a piece of paper horizontally between 2 clothespins.  Each child's work will have one pink and one yellow clothespin.

Sorry these are a little difficult to see against the brick!

Word Wall:  These will be my new word wall.  Our reading series focuses on lowercase letters and in fact, never really formally teaches uppercase letters.  I made the mistake of only having capital letters on my word wall last year not realizing this aspect of our new curriculum.  These were made from 12 x 12 black scrapbook paper and blue, green & pink polka dotted paper.  They will be hung on my bulletin board this year and word wall words will be taped to them.

Birthdays: Last week I showed you my birthday creations.  I took these into my classroom and tried them out in my birthday treat bucket I created last year.  They fit really well and I think they look good on top of my cubbies.  Hoping my kindergarten kiddos love their new scented markers!

No home "made its" last week.  We'll see what this week holds.  What did you create this week?  Hop over to Tara's blog and see all the new ideas!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Favorites {July 26}

Here are a few of my favorite finds from this week!

Recipe: "Man-Pleasing" Chicken:  I personally would call this Dijon Chicken or something similar, but that was the name given on the pin.  This was very easy to make, involved few ingredients and tasted yummy.

School: Our curriculum follows a very strict schedule in language arts, so when something has to give, it is usually math.  I've been looking for ideas that I can use to make the most of my math time.

Number Bracelets These linked back to Math Coach's Corner blog.  I will definitely be visiting there again!  If you haven't ever seen her blog, go check it out.  Lots of great ideas for grades K-5!  These little bracelets are now on my to-do list in the last couple weeks of summer.

Magna-Tiles  I won Magna-Tiles (you can about it here) and have been looking for things to do with them.  I pinned this because there are many activities to use Magna-Tiles.  Looking forward to it!

I'd love suggestions on how to use Magna-Tiles in the classroom and/or how you build more math into your day!

What have you found on Pinterest this week?

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Have you used Magna-Tiles in your classroom or with your own children?  I entered a contest (you can enter below) for Magna-Tiles for my classroom.  They are giving Magna-Tiles away each day to a lucky winner.  I must have been VERY lucky (I typically don't win things!) because I got an e-mail last Thursday telling me that I had won!

I was excited because these look pretty cool for my classroom.  There are 32 pieces in the box.  I was thinking a center activity.

Then my box arrived yesterday.  Below is what I found when I opened it.
6 boxes of Magna-Tiles!!!  Look out math time, here we come.  My wheels are turning with lessons to use these with.  I'm thinking the obvious...building 3-D shapes ( these shapes they created) and naming 2-D shapes (K.G.A.2) .  I'm also thinking use simple shapes to make larger shapes (K.G.B.6).

Did you say you wanted some too?  You should go here and nominate yourself (yes, you can nominate yourself) to win some for your classroom too!  They are drawing one winner per day through August 9.

What ideas do you have for using Magna-Tiles in the classroom?  I'm off to Pinterest to search for some new ideas :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It {July 22}

In addition to linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Made It Monday, I also have a guest blog post over at Mrs. Thigpen's Kindergarten today.  This linky has been my inspiration to be crafty during the summer!

I am going to start with dinner I made early last week.  I had seen this recipe on Pinterest for quinoa with roasted veggies.  I thought, "I don't really need a recipe for that; I'll just make it up as I go."  I saw pork chops with reduced price stickers and we had a winner.  I used a new spice mix I got in Savannah at The Salt Table, a store full of spices, flavored salts and sugars and the like.  This was an excellent dinner.

I wrote about a couple other great recipes I tried on Friday.  Check out that post here.

Thanks to the Scentos deal at Michaels (on clearance for 30 cents), I decided to give these to my students for their birthdays.  I made little labels to stick on them.  Tie a little birthday ribbon (50 cents a roll clearance at Michaels) around them and we are done!  You can download your own copy of the labels here.  These are printed on address labels (Avery 5160).

I was feeling pretty good after last week's successful wall art for my bedroom.  Enter: this week's inspiration (thanks again, Pinterest!).

This seemed a bit more challenging, but the hardest part was waiting *patiently* for the brushes to dry so I could change size for each color.  It was a bit more time consuming than I anticipated (about 1.5 hours on task total I'd guess), but I am liking it.  I basically followed the directions shared on the site for the inspiration, but obviously changed the colors to go with the room I was using this in.  My background is also cream and I used a brown paint pen for the stems, but my dots are purple, green, blue and gray.  I also used a longer canvas (12x24) as it was most likely going over a bed and I thought it would look better.

Make sure to stop at Tara's blog (4th Grade Frolics) to see all the craftiness this week and Nicki's (Mrs. Thigpen's Kindergarten) to read about ways I communicate with parents using technology.

What have you made this week?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Scentos Deal

I know this is my second post today, but you might want to check out this deal.  I ran into Michaels today when I had some spare time between places to be.  I had seen a couple posts about clearance Scentos markers.  I was on the hunt.  Not only did I find Scentos markers, I found them on sale for 30 cents (originally $1)!  They also have a 25% off your entire purchase out right now.  Look out!  This bargain shopper picked up 22 markers/highlighters/pens for just over $5!

Just a few of my fun (cheap) finds today!

I'm thinking about putting the pens in my writing center, highlighters are going to a coworker and the markers are going in my reward box. Add Michaels to your list of things to do on Saturday because that is the last day you can get the extra 25% off (not sure how long the sale goes).

What great deals have you found?

Update: Went back for more today (thought they'd make good birthday gifts!) and they said they are on clearance and would not give me the extra 25% off.  30 cents is still a pretty good deal.

Favorite Pins Friday {July 19}

Here are a few of my favorite pins for this week.  I didn't see The First Grade Parade post for the linky, but I'm going to share anyway :).

I've been trying new recipes every week this summer courtesy of Pinterest.  Here are a few from this week.

Chicken Piccata: I made this for dinner Tuesday night.  It was awesome!  No capers here though, so made it without.  I breaded the chicken with panko breadcrumbs instead of Ritz crackers.

Pesto Orzo: I made this to go with the chicken above.  My mom had 2 servings and my dad went back for 4 servings.  Must not have been too bad :).  I used a packet of pesto mix and served it warm.

Here are a few pins that are not food related.

Fabric Covered Bulletin Board: I'm hoping to make something similar to these.  I think they'd be great for dismissal change notes near my classroom door.

Treasure Drawers: We use a school-wide behavior system.  I also have a treasure box in my classroom.  I'd like to replace my treasure box with sometime similar to this to give students a choice of rewards.

What have you been finding on Pinterest?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Honored with an Award

I'm honored to receive a Liebster Award from Random Craftiness and Just a Primary Girl.

Here are the rules: 

1. Link back to the blog that nominated you

2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers

3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator

4. Share 11 random facts about yourself 

5. Create 11 questions for your nominees

6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

My nominees are:
Crystal at My Kinder-Garden

Answers to 11 questions from Random Craftiness:
1. If you could hop in the car and take a road trip anywhere right now, where would it be? 
It would be a long trip but I'd to I Teach K in Vegas.

2. What book/magazine are you currently working on reading?
School: K-2 Math Fact Fluency    Pleasure: The Wildwater Walking Club

3. How did you choose to start a blog?
My students each had a blog, so I felt like I should start one too!  I attended and presented at our state's technology conference about my students' blogs then attended a conference where one of the bloggers I follow (KinderGals) presented.  A new blog was born!

4. If you could get paid to do anything, what would it be? 
I'm not sure...I enjoy teaching so I'm glad I get paid for that :).  I would like it if someone would pay me to travel. 

5. Favorite classroom theme? 
My current "theme" is bright colors. I haven't had a theme prior to this.  I like rooms that look "homey".

6. Best teaching moment?
One of my former students is going into 4th grade.  He struggled A LOT when I had him in kindergarten and really challenged me to grow as a teacher.  He was the first student I had with an IEP.  I just found out a couple weeks ago that he passed is OAA (state assessment) which is a huge accomplishment for him and all his hard work.  I think about him frequently and have his picture behind my small group table.

7. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? (And none of that wishing for more wishes nonsense!) 
Time with family and friends enjoying one another.

8. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Not really one for branching out in the food realm.  Can't think of anything super unique.

9. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
My favorite teacher was probably my kindergarten teacher.  She brought her daughter (who was 8) to school with her a couple times, and I thought she was the coolest!

10. What is your favorite trait about yourself?
Probably my blue/green eyes.

11. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
Because I commute about an hour, something very easy to take care of that can be left alone for long periods of time!  A fish?

Answers to 11 questions from Just a Primary Girl:
1. What is your all time favorite song?
Probably Simple Gifts

2. iPhone / Droid/ Galaxy?

3. Why did you name your blog what you did? 
I thought about the name of my blog for a few days.  In the end, I love Eric Carle books. I think The Very Hungry Caterpillar is probably one of the more popular ones, thus, " A Very Curious Class".

4. How often do you blog? 
Depends on how crazy school is!  I would ideally like to blog 2 times per week.

5. How many products do you have on your TPT page?

6. Do you designate time to blog or fit it in where you can?
I fit it in when I can!

7. How long do you have off for summer?
We were off from May 29-August 18.

8. What teacher supply can you NOT live without?
I have a very large supply of Post-It notes.  

9. Do you have any pets?

10. Do you have any children?

11. If you have pets/children - how do you balance it all? What relaxes you?

11 Random Facts:
1.  I am the older of 2 kids (have a younger brother).
2.  I had the opportunity to attend I Teach K in Las Vegas last summer.  Amazing; would love to go back!
3. I enjoy cooking and baking.  Pinterest and I have been working together to try some new recipes this summer.
4. Pinterest has made me a little bit crafty.
5. I have been teaching 9 years, all in the same building.
6.  I saw a sea turtle lay her nest last week.  So cool!   You can read about it here.
7. Growing up, we vacationed in Maine most summers.
8.  I enjoy reading.  I like easy reads: funny, lighthearted. 
9.  I spend more money on my classroom than I probably should. 
10. I am a bargain shopper.
11. I started working in my classroom today. I like going in when it is quiet.  Hopefully will allow time to relax right before school starts.

Questions for my Nominees:
1. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not in school?
2. What is the best crafty project you've done? (home or school)
3. What is the best vacation you've ever been on?
4. How did your blog get its name?
5. What is your favorite idea(s) you got from a blog?
6. Do you use a reading/math series?
7. What is the best "teacher tip" you would offer someone?
8. How many students do you have in your class?
9. What is your favorite unit/topic to teach?
10. What is your favorite subject to teach?
11. What is our favorite book(s) to read to/with your students?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Made It {July 15}

I am linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It linky party.

I have been on vacation for the last week, so my "made its" are limited.  I can't believe it is the middle of July already!  Where did this month go?

1.  I pinned this a couple weeks ago and wanted to create something similar for my bedroom.


Below is the finished product.  I started by painting a 16x16 canvas a cream color.  I tried using a paint brush, but it was not evenly coated.  I ended up using a small paint roller purchased at Lowe's that was meant to be used to paint a door.  It worked great!  I picked out 4 pieces of paper that went with my duvet and freehanded a leaf pattern.  I then traced the leaf pattern to cover each piece of paper.  After cutting them out, I laid them out on the canvas to make a design I liked.  I used Modge Podge to adhere them to the canvas.  Finally, I went over all pieces with another coat of Modge Podge.

Finished product on my counter

Hanging over my bed (duvet from IKEA)

2.  I made s'mores cookies a few weeks ago.  They tasted good, but their appearance was not so great. Tonight I made my typical chocolate chip cookie recipe and put marshmallows in the middle of each cookie dough ball before baking.  They came out looking much more appetizing.

While visiting the beach, I collected some treasures to use in a future Monday Made It.  I have an aqua tub in my main bathroom (not my choice), so I would like to decorate with some "water" themed items.  I'm going to somehow use some of the items below (I hope!).

Head over to Tara's linky and find some new ideas!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday {July 12}

I am linking up again with Cara from First Grade Parade for her Favorite Pins Friday linky.

For each pin, the link in the title takes you to my pin and clicking on the picture will take you to the original website itself.

Lemony Brownies: These were amazing!  Lots of lemon flavor and very moist (almost cake-like).  Yum!

Citrus Orzo Salad: This was a great summer side to our sloppy joes!

For my classroom:

Math Dot Cards: I'm thinking about having one of these as the "number of the day" then displaying them on an anchor chart for each number.

Bright Flower Bulletin Board: We made similar flowers this spring using bright colors, and it really brightened up our bulletin board.

Today is our last day of vacation (so sad), so we're dodging raindrops to enjoy a last day of beach fun.  If you didn't see my sea turtle post, check it out here.

I hope you found something here helpful to you!  Hop on over to Cara's blog and check out all the other favorite pins!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Once In A Lifetime

I am currently on vacation with my family on Tybee Island, GA.  My mom and I visited Savannah 3 summers ago and ventured to the island for a little beach time after a recommendation from the Visitors Center.  We loved Tybee and knew we'd come back.  The family is here this time and enjoying the beach time.

Last night, my mom and I decided to go for a little walk.  We walked past some beautiful houses then decided to go listen to the waves on the beach while sitting on a swing.  About 10 minutes later, we heard voices down by the beach yelling "What is that?!?"

It was...

a Loggerhead turtle coming out to nest!  The woman on the beach thought it was a body (Scary!) because it was so large.

I follow the Tybee Sea Turtle Project on Facebook and knew a few things about nesting turtles.  I knew that shining white light on them was not good (though I did snap that picture above before I told the man to turn his flashlight off).  I also knew to call and let someone on the team know that there was a turtle on the beach.  We called and a group of volunteers appeared (6 in all).

For an hour we watched this mama turtle make her nest, lay her eggs (85 in total we later learned), cover the nest and finally return to the ocean.  It was amazing!  Many of the volunteers had never seen a turtle lay its eggs; they would just find the nests in the morning after spotting tracks left behind by the turtle.

I was disappointed that we would not be here when a nest hatched (they take 50-75 days to incubate and we were going to miss it), but the volunteers told us that this was even more rare.

This morning on our beach walk, we saw the volunteer coordinator again and she was moving the nest.  The eggs were laid very close to the water, and they were concerned that a very high tide might damage the nest.  We were able to watch her dig up the nest, count the eggs and reconstruct the nest in a safer location.

A single egg.  They are leathery and each time you touch them, there is an indentation.  She said they are not hurt.

A peek in the nest when it was first uncovered.  They are about 2 feet deep.

It was an awesome experience that I can't wait to share with my students when we study eggs.  They said that this same turtle can lay a nest every 13-14 days throughout the season (5-6 nests).  That is just crazy to me!

What "once in a lifetime" experiences have you had?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Just a Primary Girl" 100 Follower Giveaway

Mrs. H over at Just a Primary Girl is having a 100 Follower Giveaway.  I donated a winner choice TpT product the giveaway.  Click the image below to head over and check it out!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Made It {July 8}

I'm linking up again with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics to share a little Monday Made It I worked on for my classroom this week.

Two years ago I found cheap picture frames on clearance in the Target Dollar Spot.  I thought they were cute and wondered what to do with them after I bought them.  I decided to hang them on Command hooks with some ribbon after putting pictures of students working at different centers in them.  I received lots of compliments from parents and staff, and students loved looking at them throughout the day.  It was a good idea, but I never got around to it again this past year.

I was in Michael's after inspiration from last week's Monday Made It and saw the frame below.  I thought surely I could do something with that!  They had some that were on clearance (I bought those of course) and some in the regular aisle too.

I also bought a cheap picture album (one like those little Dollar Tree ones) on clearance because the cover was damaged for 75 cents.  I then used scissors and cut all the pages out.  I thought these would make it easier to change the pictures throughout the year.

I brought them home and painted them the colors that match my classroom library bins (pink, blue, green and yellow).  I glued one of the photo album pages to the back of the frame with tacky glue.

I am going to get some fun ribbon (when I get in my classroom) and put it through the corners (tie a bow at the top) and hang these on Command hooks throughout my classroom.  They give it a "homey" feeling on the cheap.  The total cost of 7 completed frames was under $7!  I still have pages left from the picture album, so I may have to pick up more frames.

What do you do to make your classroom feel more like home?

Don't forget to link up with Tara for Monday Made It.  I love seeing all the new ideas!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday {July 5}

I am linking up with Cara at First Grade Parade for her Favorite Pins Friday linky party.

I have three pins to share with you: one classroom, one recipe and one for the home.

The first is my classroom pin.  I loved this tree!  I love all the circles of different sizes and colors and knew I needed this in my classroom.  I cannot find a picture of mine (so sad), but I do have a tree inspired by this pin right when you walk in the door of my classroom. I used 2 different cardstock packs and some sparkle paper.  All of my circles are uniform sizes though.  Each big circle is 4 1/2" (solid color), middle circle is 3 1/2" (patterned), inside circle 2 1/2" (sparkle).  My students' family pictures are on the tree with a label above the tree "our family tree".  I've had many compliments on the tree from parents, staff and visitors.  I was surprised how easy it was to make and was not as time consuming as I thought it might be.

This summer I've been finding recipes on Pinterest and giving them a try.  Yesterday I wrote about one of my most recent great recipes, but I don't want you to have to hear about that one again.  You can check those EASY cookies out here.  I am going to share my favorite dinner recipe I've tried.  The person I pinned it from calls it "baked risotto", I call it "cheater risotto".  If you have ever made risotto, you know that it is a bit time consuming but oh so good.  In this version, you do a little bit on the stovetop then throw it in the oven (with some veggies wrapped in foil on the side) and about 35 minutes later you have risotto.  It is awesome!

My final pin today is for my house.  I bought a condo a few months ago and I am working on getting it decorated.  It is actually bigger than my house was, so more walls to decorate.  This pin is something I want to try because I think it looks pretty (and hopefully easy?).  I bought a canvas and 4 different colors of scrapbook paper that I think (hope) go well together.  We'll see how it comes out.  Watch for it on an upcoming "Made It Monday".

I hope you found some ideas that you can use.  Link up with Cara to share your favorite pins.  I'm looking forward to lots of new ideas!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What's That? Wednesday Reveal

I'm back to share my "What's That? Wednesday" pictures.  Thanks for taking a look and guessing yesterday!

Did you guess this one?

This is new artwork I just purchased for my family room.  I bought a condo about 3 months ago and just moved in a couple weeks ago after doing some updating.  I have vaulted ceilings in my family room and was looking for some great artwork to put above the fireplace.  Being the bargain shopper that I am, I found this at Hobby Lobby (while shopping for crafty school things) at 90% off.  I paid $8! 

Not so appetizing here...

Yummy here!

These are the easiest cookies EVER.  I found this on pinterest  and have made them twice in a week.  The first time I made them, I made lemon cookies.  These are chocolate and gluten free.  My brother's girlfriend is gluten free and they are here for the 4th, so I made them for her to try.

Recipe: 1 cake mix (any flavor), 8oz. tub of cool whip (I used lite) and 1 egg.  Mix until blended.  Roll in powdered sugar and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Done!

I found the dough to be very sticky, so using spoons to drop the dough in the powdered sugar was easiest for me.  Once they are coated, it is easy to transfer to the cookie sheet.  If you go for the gluten free mix, I'd suggest parchment paper (lesson learned), but I did not need it for the regular cake mix.  They are so yummy and moist!

Happy 4th of July!  Have a fun (safe) holiday!