2018 One Little Word Walk Through

Saturday, December 29, 2018 No comments
Here is the link to my One Little Word Walk Through.

I completed my one little word album for the year.  I scrapbooked my word monthly using the Ali Edwards prompts from 2017, but I chose to use a junk journal I had rather than her supplies, only b/c I need to use up my supplies before I purchase more.  I only make those sort of rational decisions in January.  This is the first year I've chosen to revisit my word monthly, and it really helped.  I think it kept me anchored in a turbulent times.  I'm definitely doing it again this next year and I've already chosen my word.  I'm going to use the other half....err, 1/4th of this journal, so I'll have to dig deeper in less space.  This last year I chose the word "Hope."  It seems like an overused word, but at the end of last year I found myself looking at situations I had prayed about for years and feeling really hopeless.  To be honest, I didn't see huge, life altering changes, though years aren't chapters, so I won't confine hope to this year, but perhaps b/c 2017 was a tough year, and 2018 wasn't that much easier, I needed, even more than usual, to cling to hope so I don't become harden to the whispers hope brings.  Though I took action, there are a lot of parts of the word that require you to be patient and wait.  This next year I'm choosing restore.  I'll share my first few pages and reasons soon, but as this year closes, one last look at hope, which I'll bring with me into 2019.

Snowball Kiss Cookies

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 No comments

One of my favorite cookies is the peanut butter kiss cookies, so when I saw the recipe for these snowball cookies, I had to try it out.  It so easy, and the great thing is this recipe only takes a few ingredients, and makes just a few cookies.  You could double/triple the recipe if you wanted.  It's an interesting recipe to me b/c it doesn't use any eggs, so it would be easy to make this dairy free with a butter and chocolate substitute.   But....I didn't.  I could have, but....hello, it's not the new year yet and I lost all sense of reasons last January 3rd or 4th.
Snowball Kisses
*Makes 10 cookies.
Ingredients:  10 Hershey's Kisses, 1/4 c. salted butter (softened), 2 T powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla, 1/2 c. + 1 T flour, 1/2 c. powdered sugar.
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Unwrap the kisses and set them aside.
3.  Mix the butter, 2 T powdered sugar, vanilla, and flour.  (It takes a lot of work, just keep going until they are completely blended.
4.  Pinch off about a tablespoon of batter, flatten it out like a pancakes and place a kiss inside.  Wrap the dough around the kiss and roll into a ball until you can't see the kiss.  Repeat 9 more times.
5.  Bake at 400 for 9 minutes.
6.  Let cookies cool, and then roll them in 1/2 cup powdered sugar until well coated.

Chicago at Christmas

Thursday, December 20, 2018 No comments
 My friend Kelly had some extra airline vouchers to use up and she asked me if I was interested in going to Chicago for the weekend to check out their Christmas.  I'm always up for an adventure.  I went to Chicago several years back during the summer (in the middle of a longer trip), but I can't say I really explored the city.  Let me just say, while half of my friends were posting from NYC, and the other were posting about their elves, Chicago has some (not so hidden) Christmas charm that is not to be missed.  I LOVED seeing Chicago at Christmas time and it far exceeded my expectations for what I would find!  Starting with the (above) airport. 
 I sat next to a lady who was a native to the land of Chicago, and she gave me some great advice, including pizza at Giordano's.  I had deep dish last time I was there as well, but I don't remember it being this excellent.  We were in a full restaurant at 11, and closed the place down.  I don't even understand how they make this so different and so delicious this was, but Kelly claims it was her favorite part of the whole trip and posting the picture made my mouth water. 
 We stayed at the Drake, beautiful decor, prime locations, and swanky rooms overlooking Michigan Ave didn't disappoint. Again, we got a steal of a deal (less than 200).  We debated several different locations, but this was a great choice.  It is listed an one of the historical hotels in America, which I always trying to explore when given the chance! 
Saturday we got up and we headed out to The Little Goat.  We were able to make a reservation in advance.  It was a super cute restaurant with a fun menu. 
 It's breakfast meets Asia with some funky flavors to try out. 
 After breakfast, we headed to the Christkindl Market.  It's the 'original' German market set that has sort of spread this tradition to other cities, but this is apparently the place to be....and all the people came. 
It opened at 11, and I heard some people talking about how it was better to come early b/c it was wall to wall people later.  We had the opposite experience.  We swung through later as well and it wasn't nearly as crowded as when we were there.  There was a wait to look at a lot of the boots.  It was cold, but it was still fun.  The key....just go with some patience b/c it can be a tight squeeze, which was actually OK b/c it was so cold....I'm not going to complain about body heat. 
 There were a ton of vendors with German foods, nuts, breads, a grocery store with candies, gingerbreads, and drinks.  Ornaments, ornaments, and more ornaments, and lots of German souvenirs. 
 Each year there is apparently a mug that you can purchase with drinks.  The big controversy this year (and last) is that it's not shaped like a boot like all the previous years.  BUT, I liked my first mug just fine, and the innards (hot chocolate). 
There was a place you could eat, but we didn't try that out, but they had tables set around you could munch at after purchasing food from the outside vendors.  
 Can I just pause and tell you my Chicago experience included a lot of cheese. 
 They had pretzels with all sorts of fillings, and these wheels of cheese they set under heat lamps until it bubbled, and then they scraped it off onto your sandwich. 
 After the market, we stopped at Garrett's popcorn.  Mainly b/c every single person who heard we were going told us we had to go here.  There was a line just to get in, but it as worth it b/c A)  It was warm inside.  B)  The popcorn really was good.  I had been told to get the Chicago mix (cheese and caramel).  All the people didn't lie. 
 That evening we took a trolley tour.  We didn't book as early as we should have because some of the most popular tours were sold out, but we still had a good time and were able to see more and hop off at the Zoo and at the Christkindle Market.  You only get 30 minutes at each stop, but you at least got to experience the sites and we went past the city tree on the trip, which was fun to see all lit up.  The other tours may stop for longer, but it was still cheaper than Ubering from place to place. 
 We ended the night in Little Italy at a little restaurant called Rosebud.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  The lasagna was to die for....I mean don't, because then you won't get to experience the rest of your trip, but it's last meal worthy. 
Sunday was our last day.  At the advice of more Chicago folks we went to The Walnut Room at 10.  We were told not to go between 11-4 b/c we would be in a big line.  We were also told breakfast wasn't the star, but....we really just wanted to experience the meal and the tree. 
 We got to sit right under the tree, which was a lot of fun.  The breakfast was good, what you would expect, but our waiter was really great and I'd do it again for sure. 
 The store was decked out inside....
 ...and out....
 The window displays were animated and worth the trip alone. 
 The iconic Chicago sign is also right down the street. 
 We then made the half mile walk to Cloud Gate.  They had an ice skating rink below.
 And I have to say, as a photographer (who did not bring her camera) this was one of my favorite spots. 
 It's worth it!  I had read to go early, and we were there about noon, but I'm OK with other people in my photo. 
We had a few hours before we needed to head out, and right down the road was the Chicago Art Institute.  
 We started out just going into the shop (art shops are some of my favorite places to find souvenirs), but the gal at the desk told us they had the largest collection of Impressionist work outside of the Louvre. 
 I don't 'know' my art like I should, but I know Monet and he was well represented.  If you have never seen a painting up close with the 'gobs' of paint you have never seen art how it should be seen. 
 I was surprised by the number of famous paintings they had on site, and at the risk of filling up this feed, these are a tiny sampling. 
 But my main reason for going was this couple.....
Seriously, how often after I seen this?  Worth it!  After walking around until our feet hurt we headed to the hotel and headed home.  It was a jam packed 48 hours, and I have no doubt that there are 10 great sites I missed, but I can honestly say I didn't really have an expectations, but having gone, I'd recommend it 10 times over, and it makes me want to explore other cities and their Christmas traditions b/c I realized how much I'm missing. But first, I'm off to finish up a few of my Dallas traditions before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas in Dallas. 

Teaching Tuesday: 100th Day-Entertainment

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 No comments
     Apparently, it's all about the 100th day right now.  In my defense, it's what I've been working on.  In my other life, I'm helping plan a trip that got really big really fast, so all the details have consumed a lot of my time.  By the end of January, I will be back, and my hope is I'll have more time to prepare things in advance, like lessons.  I'd love to put all my 100th Day Museum pieces in one email, but right now, I'm posting it piece by piece. 
     I'm creating a 'museum' of things from 100 years ago for the students to tour on the 100th day of school.  I have all different categories:  school 100 years ago, entertainment, inventions, daily life, food.  There will be some interactive pieces, and samples. 
     This year, our district provided ipads for each student, so what I've been doing for a lot of the different categories is making QR codes.  In this case, when you scan the QR code for the Jazz page, a song should pop up that was popular in 1919.  Here is a link to a free printable of this page. 
     Once I have it all together, I'll try to post it all together, but right now you can click the 100th day link below this post to go to the other resources I've already published.   

December Daily 2018: Week 1 (ish)

Thursday, December 13, 2018 No comments
Now that Week 2 is almost come and gone, here is week 1 from my December Daily album. 

Teaching Tip: 100th Day Museum

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 No comments

I started sharing about our 100th day last week, but this week, I'm adding another addition.  I'm going to set up a 'museum' in our school with inventions from 1919, food, politics, and news stories.  Another big thing that happened in 1919 was the fact that this is the year Congress endorsed the 19th Amendment.  I made a little flyer with a QR code that leads to a short/informative video about how this came about.  Here is the link to the free printable. 
I also used this website:
to print off info about 10 women.  I'm going to set up a ballot box with their names on the ballots, and I'm going to make a sash like the ones they would have worn during protest. 

Italian Christmas Cookies

Sunday, December 09, 2018 No comments
 Last week my school hosted a cookie exchange.  I've been putting this together for at least ten years now.  I'll share more about it in a few days, but in the meantime, this is the cookie recipe I brought this year.  I'll put a link below the full printable.  I always try out something new (which is our whole goal).  These were a new route for me, they were more of a sandy cookie, not as sweet as some, with a little hint of almond and lemon.  I liked the fact that you can sprinkle them any color you want.  I found instead of dipping my cookies, I spooned icing on top.  I also just used real butter instead of butter flavored crisco because it's what I had on hand. 

Here is a link to a free printable. 
We always share the recipe, which is great b/c you can keep the ones that meet your tasting standards likes and dislikes, and you can toss the others. 

Unicorn Pocket Letter

Thursday, December 06, 2018 1 comment
 Pocket letters were really big a few years ago.  People got pretty elaborate with their pocket scenes.  The idea is you use those old baseball card sleeves and fill them with scrapbook supplies.  Some people even fill the front and back.  Then you fold them up and can slip them in a letter size envelope.  I did NOT go elaborate because my goal was to get this out in a speedy fashion.  My cousin's little gal is at a really fun age, and she is a fan of the unicorn.  I too love a good unicorn decoration.  She came to my house over the break and we did some crafting (another one of her loves) and she enjoyed playing with all my supplies, and examining all my unicorns.
 So....I went through my old scraps, pulled out washi, and stickers etc, and I filled a little envelope full of these gals for her to get creative.  This concludes with her next love-letters, so....mine is closed up, stickered up, and I'm adding some tape and a couple of stamps and then shipping this through the mail.

Teaching Tip: Context Clues

Tuesday, December 04, 2018 No comments
Things have been a little crazy at work, so in an effort not to let go of this little day of the week, I found an old lesson I did.  If you click on this free link it will take you to the full activity.  Once kids learn about four different types of clues, there are a bunch of example sentences (I found a lot of them and just reformatted them) and they sort them into the four sections.  

Easy French Onion Soup

Sunday, December 02, 2018 No comments
 This weekend I took a really fun French Cooking Class at Sur La Table.  It was my third time to take a class (all at different places), but I think this was my favorite.  In this case, we made a meal, some of the others have been tips (which end up as a meal too), but I like a good theme.  One of my favorite meals of all time was French Onion Soup and roasted chicken at this little cafĂ© in Montmatre.  This menu was reminiscent of the time.
I also had already planned French onion soup for this week's lunches (whoops).  I was in a soup mood a few weeks ago when I was planning ahead.
Can I be honest, I actually liked the soup I made tonight better, but I learned a lot of great tips from the class that helped with making the recipe.
I'm storing it here b/c I want to be able to create it again someday.
But first, here is how you cut the onion...I didn't know.  You do a 'wedge like cut' that ist just about 1/4 of an inch or less.
French Onion Soup
Ingredients:  1/4 c. butter, 2 large yellow onions (chopped thin), 1 t. kosher salt, 1 t. thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 c. dry sherry, 1 t. apple cider vinegar, 1/2 t. sugar, 3 c. beef broth, 2 c. chicken broth, 1 c. water.  1/2 inch sliced baguette (drizzled with oil and toast), 2 c. grated Gruyere cheese.
1.  Melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions and salt.  Stir occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden (just starting to brown).  This process takes about 45 minutes.
2.  Mix in thyme, bay leaf, broths, and water.  Stir to combine and allow the soup to simmer gently (gentle boil) for about 1 hour.
3.  Remove bay leave and then divide evenly into crocks (mine filled about 6 crocks).  Top with toasted bread (heavy on the bread-I put in 4 pieces), and top with shredded cheese (I like it cheesy-so I put 1/3 c. on each).
4.  Place crocks in oven on high broil until the cheese and golden and bubbling (1-2 minutes).