Friday, December 30, 2011


Oh to spend my days crafting (and pinteresting)! Finished these ornaments the other night and working on another project....

I love Christmas break!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NYE Dreams

New Years Eve for the past couple of years have been not-so-exciting. Basically, we have sat around, played games, and tried to make it to midnight. Might be fun any other night of the week, but not a memory maker.

This year, this is how I dream of spending my NYE...

source: pinterest

source: pinterest

source: poems and novels
Forts, hot chocolate, reviewing 2011, dreaming about 2012, and watching the ball drop. Maybe even a New Year's kiss.

J is going to be so excited when he hears this. ;)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Little Love

Here are some things, I am really loving right now...  Hilarious!

Bela Fleck went caroling in my neighborhood Saturday night. Yeah, that just happened. Sadly, he did not stop by my house, but I know it was just a slight oversight on his part. ;)

Michael Buble had permission to come swing by my house anytime to serenade me. You need to check out his Christmas album.

The tv show New Girl... Where have I have been?!!?!

I love the fact that I ran into my friend Amanda at Fidos and McKays on the same day and totally unplanned. (Then another planned Fidos trip that night.) That pretty much sums up why we are friends.

My super sweet love J who is currently getting me soup because I feel like poop.

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Literacy Trees :)

Last week, my grandmother and I took some time to go the Governor's mansion to see the house decorated for Christmas. This year, Mrs. Haslam asked some of the schools to make ornaments for her Read 20 trees. Our school was not one of the ones chosen, but some of my teaching buddies at other schools were. It was so neat to see Mrs. Bozeman's and Ms. Ridings' classes work. :)

How cute are these?!?!

The Garden of Eve? ;)
Max from Where The Wild Things Are
"We'll eat you up- we love you so!"

Rainbow Fish

Skippyjon Jones! My favorite children's character

A take on Where's Waldo?... student's name instead

I am thinking I might need to have a literacy tree next year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Made With Love

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


There are not a lot of things in life I enjoy more than a home decorated for Christmas. The tree, white lights, stockings hanging, all just make a home feel more cozy. I have already enjoyed laying on the couch, snuggling puppies in the glow of the tree lights.

This year I took on a little art project...

I had a large frame with a giraffe picture that I have been trying to get rid of so I just decided to add to my Christmas decor. First, I covered a piece of cardboard with burlap. Then, I took a large piece of green flannel and folded it in half. I free-handed cut a half of a tree so that when it was unfolded it made a complete tree. (You could use a stencil instead.) I cut out a little heart tree topper and plaid circle ornaments out of fabric I had.

The names were way more tedious. First, I typed our names using Microsoft Word. (I used the French Script font.) After printing the names. I used an Exacto knife to cut each letter out. Next, I traced each letter onto fabric using a thin Sharpie. (I used the plaid fabric that I used for the ornaments.) Then, I got to cut out each letter again. I lined it up under the tree and then glued everything onto the burlap. Pop picture into frame and voila!

To complete the overall mantle look, I added
  • green, red, and gold ornaments and candles
  • garland wrapped with a berry garland
  • my cute folksy stockings (from World Market circa 2009)
 Now how long can I leave this all up again?!?!?!

I linked up...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fairness and BUTS

"It's not fair."

I have heard these words so many times. They do not always come from the mouths of children. In fact, they have spilled from my lips several times lately.

But then I remember...

It wasn't fair that last week a young couple lost their 4 month old son. BUT at the funeral the mother asked everyone to dance and celebrate the short life that was.

It wasn't fair that an elementary student had to go home, make dinner, do his homework, and get his younger brother ready for bed without parents being present. BUT he made all  A's and B's on his report card.

It wasn't fair that a walker's foot swelled so bad that the skin burst during a charity walk. BUT she still crossed
the finish line.

Yesterday, I was rejected from my dream job position. This morning, I got out of the shower to find blood coming from my breast. Needless to say there have been a lot of tears in the past 24 hours. I have screamed that it is not fair. BUT then I remember that there is almost always a BUT.

Waiting to see what this BUT will be...

Daily Thanks

Each year in November, I along with the masses try to post things I am thankful for.

Today, I am grateful for a wonderful October! Some of the highlights included...
A fabulous wedding!
Road trip/ ridiculously long walk with best friend!
A short walk with some quality co-workers.
Halloween and other fall evenings spent with J.         

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Little Piece of Closure

I can't believe that it is the middle of October!

Last night I watched a Lifetime film called "Five." I cried. I know, I know. Lifetime. Big surprise. I watched it though because it was a collection of five stories from people who have been affected by breast cancer. Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Alicia Keys and other directed the short films. (If you are interested in seeing it, you can find it on Hulu.)

The ending to me especially hit home. All of the survivors got to kiss a wall plaque they designed when they hit the five year mark. It was a little piece of closure that most people need in a big life event. I guess I see this 3-Day walk as closure for me. While I am by no means at the five year mark, I am ready to shut a door. I am ready to say that I can move on with my life and achieve other things.

I feel as though I have been living in fear in some ways. November is coming up. November of last year is when I was told that there was once again cancer cells. More than once the thought of the cancer returning has popped into my head. Will I hear the same thing next month?!?

The fear of never feel pretty like I once saw myself has been something that has paralyzed me. I was set free of those chains a couple of weekends ago when I was in my friend Renee's wedding. I put contacts in for the first time in over a year. I got my hair styled and pulled up at a salon. (Bless the sweet hairdresser's heart! I cried so hard and at first she thought it was because I didn't like it.) I got my nails painted. A makeup artist fixed me up. I wore my pearls. I got to wear a beautiful black dress (most of you know my love of black dresses!). I got to walk down the aisle with pride. I got to celebrate my friends marriage without feeling self-conscious. Renee will never understand what she did for me. Each day I wake up a little earlier because once again I feel like looking presentable.

 (With my friend Amanda on the Pankakes wedding day)

At 3-Day, I will be surrounded by people who have had a journey with breast cancer in some fashion. Whether they walk in honor of their mother, a wife, a friend, or whether they are a survivor themselves, they know how important it is to be united in a battle. (Shoot, you don't raise $2,300 or walk 60 miles for just anything!) It is not about the miles I actually walk. It is about crossing that finish line. Head held high. Tears streaming down myself. (You know it's gonna happen.) It is about regaining some control of my life. A friend of mine said it best on her blog - we are not survivors, but we are surviving. (Forgive my paraphrasing.) That is so true. I am not sure there will be any days that the cancer does not affect me in some way. However, I will be no longer bound by the chains of it.

Thank you to each of you who have shown support.

Amy and I leave on Thursday for Atlanta. I am sure there will be stories to tell...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

3 Day Mail Love!

In the words of my grandfather, "Well I'll be..."

3 weeks until the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk in Atlanta! Amy and I have officially checked in online. We both have a little less than $500 to raise. (If you wish to donate, please just click on the banner on my sidebar.) It will be here before you know it.

We both have been so blessed by the support we have been shown since the day we agreed to do this walk. People have given money. People have sent kind emails and said nice words. People have prayed. So what can people do now?

Send us some mail love!!!!

Mail will be delievered to us while in Atlanta. Just make sure you mail letters by October 11!

3-Day for the Cure Post Office
ATTN: Elizabeth Quarles (or Amy Pratt)
12195 Highway 92
Suite 114-36
Woodstock, GA 30188

No boxes/packages. Letters only!

 Encouraging words might make Day 2/mile 40 seem a little sweeter. ;)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Thankful for a quiet early morning to reflect.

In about an hour, I will be busy sweeping through the halls of school with people to meet, forms to file, presentations to give, and organization to flow.

But for now, I sit with a glass of milk, a sweet dog at my feet, in the early hours where the sun is just starting to rise. It is just me and my thoughts.

Excited about possibilities, new adventures, and following dreams.
Soaking up the amount of love and support shown to me the last few weeks.
A stirring in my heart whose roots form deeper with each passing day.
Preparing my mind before the busyness gets to overshadow these thoughts.

Thankful for a new day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Teachers Night Out

I am constantly amazed by the people that surround me!

Tonight, a group of us from school headed to 3rd & Lindsley to support one of our own. Our music teacher, Mrs. Miller held her CD release party. The woman can sing! Old school country twang, but with lots of soul.

Great way for us to unwind for the day.:)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Meal Swap: The Perfect Fall Black Bean Soup

Last week, my brilliant friend Melanie hosted a meal swap. Six of us gathered on Sunday night to switch meals. It was really nice not having to come up with what to have to cook for dinner each night this week.

Here is the recipe I used, thanks to Pinterest! It really was quick and easy to make. Perfect for a fall evening!

The Pretty Bee's Speedy Black Bean Soup


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans
1 teaspoon chopped garlic, fresh or jarred
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) vegetable or chicken broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chopped tomatoes with green chilies
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups frozen corn kernels 
Optional garnish ideas: Grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, minced cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips


1. Heat oil in 4-quart or larger soup pot on medium. Peel and chop onions, add to pot. Cook until slightly brown, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, pour 1 can beans and juice in a 2-cup bowl. Use the back of a serving-size spoon to mash beans against sides and bottom of bowl broken up and pasty. Set aside.

3. Add garlic to soup and cook 1 minute. Raise heat to high, add chicken broth, mashed beans, and remaining can of beans with juice. Stir well. Add all remaining ingredients except garnish. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer to blend flavors, about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

(photo credit: The Pretty Bee)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You Never Know...

You never know what you are going to do when you come to our house, just ask Amy.

Amy came over this week. While J was grilling away, Amy and I sat on the couch, catching up. I have always been blessed by her friendship. She has always encouraged my dreams and this was no exception. After telling her about my newest find, we found ourselves looking up tickets, and planning a trip to Maine. J interrupted us to say that dinner was ready. Amy walked into the kitchen to find that we would be feasting on squirrel and dove. Barbecue squirrel, teriyaki squirrel, squirrel with olive oil and basil, squirrel with onions and red wine, and bacon wrapped dove breasts.

A trip to Maine and a feast of squirrel... do we know how to have a good time??!?! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Prayers for Bobby

Praying tonight for Bobby, Cheryl, Patty, Bob, and Kelly. Bobby, my cousin, was deployed for a year. He is having to leave his wife whom he just married in August. May God grant him safety and all of them strength.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Evening in the Backyard

One of the wonderful things about our Stockell house is the backyard. A few weeks ago, we were able to put it to good use for a couples shower for our friends soon to be R.C. Pankake.

There was food made by the fabulous Mel, flowers, bug deterrents candles, gifts, prayer, and white lights.

Summer was made for evenings such as this!

And looked who popped in all the way from Washington state!!! ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Heart

It has been a magnificent evening!

After a long day at school, I got to meet up with my beautiful friend Amanda. She has been gone for 2 months, but has returned to where she belongs. Of course, we had to met up at our favorite spot, Fido's. She was exactly what I needed tonight and I am glad that I could soak up her goodness. We also celebrated 3 years of friendship since we met the first week in September after she first moved South. Fido's + Amanda = Pure Delight.

J had dinner ready when I got home. It's the little things that are so huge for the heart.

And finally some big news...

I can pull my hair back into a half ponytail with no pins or clips!!!!!!!!!!! While that might seem little, it is very big deal. I have not been able to pull my hair up in 2 years. Just another sign that I have overcome. Even now I am crying with happy tears! :)

My heart is very happy. :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Classroom Makeover: Construction

Classroom make-overing is still going strong. Our goal is to be finished by Sept. 6th . Can we do it? Guess we'll see...

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Choice

I'm choosing to be happy.

This school year has been Crazy. That is crazy with a capital C. Between lunch forms, open houses, DIBELS testing, setting up a portable, not having an ESEA, training a new ESEA... Crazy. It seems like I am not the only one. However, with craziness has come negativity. A lot of it.

It has been really difficult this year to combat the negativity I hear at school, see on Facebook, etc. I admit that I too get caught up in it from time to time. (Who doesn't?) However, I am making the conscious decision to try to stay positive or stay silent.

Will you call me out? Will you too try to say only positive words?

I'm choosing to be happy.

(ps- Loving my new co-worker!)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beautiful Things

Sang this song at church tonight. In my mind, lots of scenes flashing before me. Beautiful things that God placed in my life and that have come from my life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Good Book (Or Two... )

One of my favorite past times is reading. I have always loved to escape in a book.

I credit my parents and my 2nd teacher for my love for reading. In 2nd grade, our school participated in the Book It program. Book It was sponsored by Pizza Hut and after reading a certain of books, you received a coupon for a free personal pan pizza. Funny, I don't remember ever actually getting pizzas, but I do remember other rewards. My parents were diligent in providing me access to books and reading with me. By the end of 2nd grade, I had read or been read over 2,000 books! Ms. Little, my wonderful teacher rewarded me with a collection of Richard Scarry stories. My parents gave me an awesome Tide racing car for riding outside. My picture was published in our little town's newspaper.

I go through seasons of reading. In college, I did very little reading other than what was required. Before moving to China, I read everything about China or Chinese culture I could get my hands on. This summer was different. I read for pure pleasure. I visited McKays often, borrowed from friends, and happily perused the aisles of Borders when they were liquidating.

I thought I would share my favorite reads from my summer collection...

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Our book club read this book and I could not put it down. I still have not gone to see the movie, but I'm a little afraid it won't do the book justice.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Young Adult fiction at its best! Our book club just picked it for the next read. I am trying to resist the urge to finish the other books in the trilogy before book club gets to them.

3. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards . This was a little hard to read just based on the content of the storyline, but very well written. Similar to novels by Jodi Piccult.

4. From Black Heels To Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond. Simple and sweet love story. Also, good for those who might be dating a country boy... ;)

5. Another Place At The Table by Kathy Harrison. I received this book in the mail from my friend Amanda just this past week and I devoured it. Memoir of a foster mom. So moving. Highly recommend!

6. Radical by David Platt. I am still finishing, but lots of food for thought. Kind of makes me want to pack up and move back to China...

With school picking back up, I am not sure I will be reading as much. :( I still warmly welcome any suggestions for future reads!

What have you been reading lately?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Classroom Makeover: Window Treatments

Are you curious as to what our project was that required so many tools?

Portable 17 has quite shoddy blinds. They never work. It get any sunlight in, I have to take down the whole blind, roll up, and then place it back on the hooks. This year, I opted for curtains and a valence.

After telling J what I wanted, he came up to school and built me valences and curtain rods.

Of course, I needed the wood to be covered in something cute! We checked out Old Time Pottery because a friend had such luck find nicely priced designer fabric there. I did not have the same luck, but another shopper told me that Jo-Ann's was having a 60% off fabric sale. That fit well in my slowly diminishing $80 budget.To my luck, I found the perfect material.

Bright colors, but not over powering. The light grayish blue also works so well with my newly painted walls. I felt even better about my purchase, when I saw that Meg from DesignStar also used the same material! ( I would so be an interior designer in my next lifetime!)

Here is the almost final product...

I am still working on the curtain part, but had a little speed bump in my progress.

It is looking nicer and nicer!

First Day of School

Thursday was the first day for the kiddos. It was packed full of craziness- registering new students, figuring out new bus routes, calming parents, and "aww"-ing over the new cute new kindergartners. Normal first day.

My day wasn't all normal though. While trying to prepare for a parent breakfast that the PTO and myself were hosting, a table fell on my knee. It was leaned up against a wall, but I did not realize it was on a ramp. When I tried to pull it down, it started rolling and falling. I knew it hurt, but did not realize how bad until about an hour later when I pulled my pants leg up. It was the biggest and most purple bruise I have ever had. I started icing it, but continued to go about my day as much as possible. By 2:30pm, I was near tears because it hurt so bad so we sat down to fill out workers' comp papers and I headed to the doctor.

The doctor wrote a prescription for pain meds, told me not to work the next day, put me on bed rest for the weekend, and sent me for x-rays. Thankfully, by this point J had arrived and carted me to 100 Oaks for the x-rays. When walking in, they asked if I wanted a wheelchair. I politely said no, but after a few steps decided I did. J knew at that point I was really hurting. I am not one to rely on others for help. After the x-rays, the tech said my doctor would call the next day with results.

Thank goodness, there were no breaks or fractures. J has been super patient making sure I have everything I need. I have watched more TV than ever. I have also consumed a lot of ice cream (that makes everything better... right?!?!). I am so over being still though. I cannot wait to be back to school tomorrow. There is so much to be done.

What a way to start a new school year!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Classroom Makeover: Teaser

Sometimes classroom makeover-ing can be a little hard core.

So glad I know a handyman!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Classroom Makeover: Painting with a Friend

What is better than sitting and being creative with a friend after a long Monday at work? In my opinion, nothing. It is even greater when that relaxing time produces something cute for your classroom.

A couple of summers ago, my friend Renee and I (along with some other girlfriends) got together to share a bottle of wine and splash some color on canvases. We sat on a porch and enjoyed the company almost as much as we enjoyed the creative expression. I decided I wanted to do that again so I called R. There was no wine and no porch, but there was The Civil Wars pandora station and Pinterest. :) From Pinterest inspiration, we created these for Portable 17.

I cannot wait to hang these puppies today! I wouldn't mind if this became a once a month tradition.

Thanks, Renee for being so super!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Classroom Makeover: The Mousepad

Because I am still one of those teachers that has a desktop computer, I still have the pleasure of using a mousepad. (Do kids today even know what mousepads are?!?! ;) ) My good old companion is a blue worn out Dell branded pad. It looked as old as me. In 5 minutes, it became a piece of cuteness.

The materials: mousepad, fabric, Heat n Bond, iron, scissors.

The directions:
1. Using the mousepad as a stencil, trace and cut out fabric with all sides being 1 in. out from mousepad.
2. Trace and cut out Heat n Bond with all sides being 1/2 in. out from mousepad.
3. Place bumpy side of Heat n Bond down on backside of fabric.
4. Iron on a low heat. (Needs to be hot enough to adhere, but not so hot the paper crinkles.)
5. After cooling, remove paper backing of Heat n Bond.
6. Place sticky side of fused fabric on top of the mousepad. (Goodbye Dell!)
7. Iron fabric on same setting.
8. After cooling, trim excess fabric.


Cost? Free! (Mousepad was already mine. Fabric and Heat n Bond were left over from past projects.)

A little 5 minute makeover for the classroom!

Classroom Makeover: The Before

Maybe it is because of all the HGTV Design Star I have been watching...
Maybe it is because of the Martha Stewart Living magazines that arrived in my mailbox...
Maybe it is because school is about to be back in session...
Maybe it is because I was sick of the storeroom that my portable at school became...
Maybe it is because of my need to make all things pretty...
Whatever it was, I signed myself up for a challenge.

$80 to make over my portable.

Portable 17, also known as the Family Resource Center is my little home away from home during the months of August through June. It is an office for Mr. Seay and me. It is a classroom for parent trainings. It is a lab for interventions and homework clubs. It is a conference room. Last year it looked like a dump.

With only one row of windows, shades that do not work, institutional beige walls, and mismatched everything, I knew that I did not want to be there much less parents that came to the school. Nothing about it was comfortable. Over time, I added little things to "make it work" as Tim Gunn says. I made bulletin boards out of paper and blank walls. I found a free couch. A desk was given to me. Still at the end of the year, I hated the long days there (especially the ones that consisted of regular school hours, followed by homework club, followed by a parent training... that is a 12 hour work day!)

This summer I was given $80. (Don't worry teachers, it was not Title I fund or school money!) $80 that will transform my place of work. $80 that can create a space in which parents and visitors can be comfortable. $80 that will encourage learning. Stay tuned to see what this becomes...


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Something From the Heart

Tonight I am feeling a little bit sentimental.

I have been so blessed by the people who have come into my life, but there are a few people who just have a really special place in my heart. One of those people would be my didi...

Brad and I met in college. Before we actually met, I remember seeing him in the cafeteria. In fact, that moment lead to one of the more embarrassing moments in my life. I walked smack into a wall and dropped my tray because I was looking at him. I actually met him at a missions meeting where I prayed he wouldn't remember me for the cafeteria debacle. A meeting turned into more meetings, turned into a decision, turned into rides in the Black Pearl, turned into moving across the world, turned into an incredible friendship, turned into a special place in my heart.

Today is Brad's birthday. It is actually kind of hard not celebrating with him tonight. In China, birthdays were a huge deal. One year we made our favorite pirate a scavenger hunt while we transformed his porch into a Bengals fan paradise. While there is no extravagant or elaborate party, there is something to be said that is just as heartfelt...

Happy Birthday, Brad. You truly have made my life more joyful. I love you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

3- Day Update!

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day in Boston took place this weekend. You can check out pictures and recap on their Facebook page. It was so encouraging to see the throngs of people decked out in pink. A sweet engagement took place too. :)

Each week, I get a little more excited about my upcoming walk. As of today, I have raised only 18% of my funds needed. I still have about $1,900 to go. Can you help?????

My click on the widgit on the right side of my page to contribute.

Only 13 weeks left! I better get to walking...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guess Who's Back?

Guess Who's Back? Back Again...

My two favorite "rappers". Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. History of Rap, Part Two.

Sigh:: Love ::Sigh

If only I could catch a History of Rap in person...

Wedding Creations/Plans

My little sister, C is getting married on Saturday. It has been busy, busy, stressful , busy. I made the ring bearers gifts for C. Because her fiance is such a big Superman fan, I made capes for the boys.

Last night, we bachelorette partied. For a quick and easy decoration, I took some old glass bottles (Kroger salsa, Taproom beer, and curry sauce) and spray painted them hot pink. (Love Joann's coupons for 40% off!) After letting them sit in the sun for a couple of hours, I tied a bow around each using black ribbon. Kroger had a double dozen roses for $9.99 so I divided them among all the pink "vases". The attendees then got a little swag to take home- fun, pretty, girly, and cheap!

Today, I am working on a little crafty and useful wedding present. Tomorrow is bridesmaid luncheon, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner. Saturday is the wedding and reception, followed by another reception for a different wedding, and then dinner with family. I hope to snag in some visits with out-of-town family members. Guess that means I should get out of my pjs...

I linked up!
Join  us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap   up           party!