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.