Friday, November 30, 2012

Farty Artie

Farty Artie is the love of my life.  He is my hunk of a handsome 15 pound cat.  If that makes me a crazy cat lady, so be it.  I've been told he's a Mama's boy.  My boy is very clever, and has been from an early age.

The first night he stayed with me (back when he was too little to be adopted and I fostered him), he managed to get into one of the guys' beers, have a few licks, and ended up with the kitten sized version of the beer box on his head.

My sweet boy has always been playful but is snuggly when I'm in bed.

 He's learned tricks like how to get on top of the mantle and open the cat treats and eat them all...they were up there because it takes him an average of 30 seconds to open a container of treats and we figured he wouldn't be able to reach...wrong!

He has learned how to make benadryl froth and later how to make himself throw up after taking a pill.

 He's learned how to sneak food off Mom's plate when she's not looking.

 He's become a Dad/ Big brother... not biologically, of course.

He's learned how to unzip my lunch box, pry the lid off of a tupperware container, and eat my leftover barbeque.  

And most recently, my boy learned how to escape the kitty carrier.  I stopped for a visit on my way home from Thanksgiving and cracked the windows a good bit for the puppy.  Artie was in the carrier, which was zipped shut.  I made it almost 2 hours towards home before the kitten crawled into my lap in the drivers' seat.  This was alarming since I'd witnessed her being secured into the kitty carrier with her brother.  I pulled over, put her back, and began looking for Artie.  He was nowhere to be found.  At this point, I made the panicked, "I can't find my cat" phone call.  Bless the souls of the wonderful men who left their dinner out and went searching for my boy, then delivered him safely to my parents.  Artie is now on an extended vacation at my parents' house.... and we miss our escape Artist magician.  

Seriously, who has a more clever cat than this?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm drooling over KitchenAid Mixers

So, my best friend saved up, used some coupons, and bought herself a kitchenaid stand mixer a few months ago.  Jealous does not even begin to describe how I felt.  It's beautiful, and just like her personality, it's pink and sparkly.

This morning, I was crossing some things off my to-do list.  One of them was to make my mama's delicious chocolate zucchini bread (shh...don't tell anyone it's clean AND healthy!)  I decided to mix it up while lunch was cooking.  Only problem is, my hand mixer went ka-put.  Something started smelling really bad, and I just assumed something had overflowed in the oven and that the preheat was re-heating whatever was burnt.  I was wrong.  Turns out, it was my mixer, which then started seizing and smoking.  Now, it won't turn on.  

Especially now that I'm eating the way I believe people were meant to eat, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Not having a mixer for any length of time is not exactly optimal.  I could buy another junky mixer, but I have learned that it's less expensive to buy something durable than buy multiples of something inexpensive and low quality, especially in the kitchen.  

This afternoon, I've been researching mixers.  I called my mom just to make sure there wasn't a mixer hidden in the Christmas closet for me, and then started crunching numbers to see where and when I could get the best deals (Black Friday, etc).  I happened across a blog post discussing the variety of mixers on sale at different stores on Black Friday.  The woman who'd written the post posted an update, and I clicked on it.  As it turns out, Kohl's has a HUGE kitchenaid mixer sale going on today only.  It comes with three attachments and the mixing bowl.  I managed to get my new mixer for about half the price of a factory refurbished one, plus because it's new, I got a free 1 year warranty. :)

If you're interested, here's what you do: 

1. go to (Kohl's is 6% cash back right now)
2. go from ebates to Kohl's website
3.  Add this KitchenAid 4.5 quart stand mixer to your cart. (It says 229.99, but when you start checkout, it will drop to 206.99) *Note: You can only get it in white, but at this price, it's worth it!
4. Use Code FFNOV20P to take 20% off to drop the price to $165.59
5. Pay local sales tax + a $3.25 shipping surcharge (it’s heavy) ** Shipping is free through ebates.
6. Submit for the $20 rebate (valid 11/16-11/17/2012 ONLY)
7. Wait anxiously. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Class Dojo, Year 2

This is the second year I've used class dojo in my room with great success.  Just like last year, it's taken a little training to get the kids used to it.  I used class dojo exactly twice this year until November arrived.  It was the first week of school, and I used it during 1st and 2nd periods, then decided it was far too much hassle to have to stop what I was doing, pull up the class dojo tab, and add/ subtract points.  I was updating my phone and it sent me some application updates with a suggested list of "things I might like."  There was one for class dojo!!!!! I was thrilled.  I downloaded the app to my phone, and I can update it from anywhere in my room, even if I don't have myself logged in on the computer.  At the end of the class, I pull up everybody's points and the class summary so they can see how they did.  My classes are competing for a pizza party right now, and many of them are positive peer pressuring their friends for the first time all school year.  I love it, they love it.  You should at least try it.  It's free AND it's easy...what could it harm???

Pantyhose and Other Trivial Things

I loathe pantyhose.  There's simply no other way to say it.  I spent far too many Sundays living in my parents' house and being told to "Go back upstairs and put on some pantyhose."  Here, my students call them stockings.  I had to wear the dreaded things earlier this week.  By the time lunch rolled around, I somehow had a giant run up my heel on one foot, a big strips run on my upper thigh and knee of the other, and one behind my knee.  It only got worse as the day progressed.  I don't know how this happens since I can wear tights and leggings all day without ever having to readjust them or snagging them.  Literally, I have tights that I've had for a solid decade.  Pantyhose? Can't get the darn things comfortable, or to stay in place, or to last more than one solid day....if that.

When I say that I had to wear pantyhose, what I really mean is, it's freezing cold here and I have exactly two pairs of pants in my pair of dressy jeans and one pair of black pants.  I'm going to have access to my parents' washer and dryer in the middle of next week, and I'd really like to make it that long without having to go to the laundromat, so..... my pants are dirty.  I'll wear a dress everyday for a week.  No biggie.  Anyway, wearing hose and I had a run before I even got into my classroom, not that I know how it got there.  My sweet cherubs asked me repeatedly if I was okay because I had big scratches on my legs and they were worried about me.  They tend to worry about me because I'm notoriously clumsy and trip and fall over things routinely.  I guess they thought it was just another attack of my gracefulness, and they were probably right.  Bless their hearts, they were so concerned.  Then, they inevitably told me to just take those stockings off!  "You don't need 'em anyway, you don't need to be dressed up."  I tried to explain that pasty white girl legs just don't look good in some winter dresses and also that at 36 degrees, I was not exposing my legs to cold air.  Not to mention it's No Shave November.  Just kidding. :)

skeletal system

gravity experiment

morning snuggles when it's too cold to get out of bed

pumpkin spice woopie pies

someone has taken over...

college visiting with Baby Brother!

The purpose of this post is just to remind myself that I love my students, and a very rare few some of them love me back.  At this point, I'm not expecting anyone to still be reading.  If you are, I owe you a coke or something.  I had a great conversation with one of my coworkers today, and she was kind enough to share some of the positive feedback she's heard about me from the kids as well as from other teachers/ administrators.  It was completely unsolicited, but we were talking about the mean things we're having to do right now.  For instance, we're still doing plenty of activities, but no more group work or labs for a few weeks.  We've been really lab heavy here (human body- hello? Lots of super cool labs), but I think the kids just need a little more structure right now, so at least until after Turkey Day, we're buckling down a little more and having a little less organized chaos.  I just hope there're no more formal observations.  Thus far this year, I've been fortunate enough to have at least a mini lab planned every time someone has dropped in to observe me (except for during my weekly feedback time, which is only 15-30 minutes at the beginning of one class on Fridays and tends to interrupt either review games or quizzes).  I hate that we can't do as many labs and group activities, but I'll survive, and so will they.  I'm starting to work on actually filling out all 140 of my "Your teacher is thankful for you because...." notes for the kiddos for next week.

Of all the things I'm thankful for this month and every day, many of them are the direct result of my work, my peers, and the opportunities and learning experiences I've had thus far.  I can't wait to see where this crazy life leads me, and how God will shape the rest of my journey....even if it does start with being the teacher in the very back of the lunch line.  Yes, we do line up by age and yes, I'm the youngest in the school.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Month of Thanks

I don't know who decided to spend the entire month of November being Thankful and came up with the idea of naming at least one specific part of your life that you are thankful for each day in November, but they're brilliant.  I loved logging on to facebook this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see thanks, prayer, and hope on this election day, rather than the political bashing that is so common.  I'm still working on my 1000 gifts that I started over the summer.  You can read about the concept behind daring to be joyful here.  I try to make time each night to reflect in prayer on my day and some of the things that I'm thankful for, etc.

This month, my students are getting the "Dear _____, Your teacher is thankful for you because ______" notes that I gave them last year (and that were such a HUGE hit -- they were designed by an early childhood teacher, but my middle schoolers l-o-v-e-d them!)  My boyfriend is getting the same thing, but he gets one per day this month.  We may not see each other for awhile, and I wanted to have some regular reminders for him that I care.

Check out Erika's template here:  (It's free!)  I downloaded and modified it for my kiddos, and voila! Easy, cheap, super appreciated Thanksgiving break treat for the students.

Just off the top of my head, some things I am thankful for today: 

learning how to eat REAL food!

a classroom for me and my students to grow and learn
weddings and celebrations of love

good music

my campers and the world of feeling and acceptance they've introduced me to

opportunities to conquer my fear 

my goofy little brother

my animals
strong women in my life as both friends and family members
football.... and my Dad

the opportunity to travel- here inside the Sistine Chapel
(I'm moving to grab the camera before the guard takes it from us)

Sigma Sigma Sigma- the sorority I joined in college that has
given and continues to give me fabulous opportunities
little brothers
a college education
summer memories and time outside