Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Teaching Tuesday: Elf on the Shelf Week

 As a specialist, I do a lot of 'big theme days' for the whole school, but I have to be sensitive (or try) to the 'rest' of the schedule.  In August, I had all these grand plans for an Elf on the Shelf week complete with a Santa's Workshop.  Enter, district scheduling and it turns out there are about 543,122 test going on this week.  I don't know why.  So, I adapted.  My teammate and I used some of our budget last year to purchase this book for the different grades.  I made a powerpoint with an award winning poem (insert sarcasm) about there being an elf at our school that spends December catching kids being kind.  I then bought some green bowls at Walmart that I added vinyl to and I'm going to place all over the building.
The PTA graciously donated a ton of little candy canes to the project, and I made a 'caught being kind' note and printed off enough for every student.  I'm giving each teacher a baggie with the notes and candy canes so that the elf can 'catch their kids' being kind throughout the week and leave notes on their desk to find in the morning.  The PTA is going to come up and pull pranks throughout the school each day, and on Friday all the teachers are going to dress up like elves.
I put some fun things on our school drive like 'finding your elf name' that I found online for free by just googling.
In a week filled with testing, this should be fun without causing too much interruption.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Cheater Chicken Noodle Soup

This is my cheater version of chicken noodles soup, and I'm not sorry about cheating b/c it's good.  I simply bought a rotisserie chicken from the store, removed the skin and shredded the meat.
I started off by taking about a half of cup of chopped celery, chopped carrots, and a medium onion and sautéing them in about a T. of oil.  When they start to soften I added 16 oz of chicken stock and about two cups of water, the chicken, 1 t. of kosher salt, and 1 T of parsley.  I also added about two cups of pasta and boiled it all together for about 15 minutes (until the noodles were soft).  If the water boils out, add more water.  I don't like a lot of water with my soup, but feel to add more broth if you like a soupy soup.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pecan Pie Part 2,345

This is the second year in a row the leadership team has brought pie around to the teachers.  We each made two pies and brought them up and rolled them around to the teachers.  
 I tried out a new recipe from all recipes for a pecan pie that didn't require corn syrup.  It used brown sugar, which made the tops candy crunchy (I don't have a better word).  It was less soupy than the usual pie, and I really liked it.
We had quite a collect this year.  More recipes to come, but in the meantime, here is the pecan I used. 
Pecan Pie Recipe
Ingredients:  1 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. white sugar, 1/2 c (melted butter), 2 eggs, 1 T flour, 1 T. milk, 1 t. vanilla, 1 c. chopped pecans
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
2.  In a bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir and melted butter.  Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar and the flour; mix well.  Add milk, vanilla, and nuts.  
3.  Pour into unbaked 9 inch pie shell.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce heat 350 degree and bake 30-40 minutes, or until done.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Teaching Tuesday: The Mayflower Simulation

We are introducing our Thanksgiving unit with these little activities.  The picture above is NOT mine, I googled Mayflower Simulation.  I also refer to a challenge activity that I found a free printable off.  Here is the video link.
The district has added in social studies test this year, so I included a few activities to have them reading compasses and using map scales like the one below.  
 I also found this free link to Scholastics where kids can 'tour' the mayflower and I provided QR codes.
Once the students try this out and we find out what works or what doesn't.....I'll spruce it up and make a printable until maybe by next year.  If it's a complete bust.....I won't.

Monday, November 12, 2018

3D Reel-40th Birthday Gift Idea

It's that 'special' year so many of my friends are hitting the decade mark....and I've been stressing.  I've been stressing since they turned 30, I'm sure.  I always try so hard to find the perfect gift, so I'm going to share a few of the ones I've come up with b/c if they don't appreciate them, maybe *you* will.  This gift is one I gave to my pal Regan.  She and I have been friends for-ev-er.  More than 30 of these 40 years, in fact, and so I took a few pictures from our years together and made one of these 3D Reels (not sponsored, but....I love these things).  I packed up her package with pink flamingos (b/c she loves them) and glittery 40's I cut out with my Cricut…..and shipped it out in hopes she'd think this was a pretty spectacular surprise.  These would make super cute Bridesmaid's gifts, or grandparent gifts.  I've given these to family after family vacations as well because....well, I'm obsessed.  Here is a video sharing a few of the other slides I have made for personal use.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Sausage Stuffed Sweet Peppers

I love jalapenos, but not everyone isn't a fan of the heat.  I even take the seeds out, but.....sometimes those boogers are sneaky. 
I recent saw the recipe for these little sweet peppers online and decided to try it out for a game night.  They really were tasty and easy to put together.  It's being added to my rotations for sure!  I bought a bag of sweet peppers (the red and yellow), a lb of sausage, 8 oz block of cream cheese (and I also tossed in about 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of cheese-I used cheddar, but a lot of recipes called for parmesan).  I let the cream cheese come to room temp.  I cooked up the mild breakfast sausage, drained it, then mixed it all together.  (Just the sausage and cream cheese would have been enough, I was just being adventurous). 
I cut the peppers in half and removed the seeds, stuffed about a tablespoon in each, and baked them at 425 for 20 minutes (15 if you want the peppers a little crisp-I like to kill my vegetables). 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Teaching Tuesday: Reading Game with Native American Story

I made this game using a free article (3rd Grade Level) from readworks.com called I am Native American.  Once the students read it I made some questions that go along with Texas Expository TEKS for 3rd grade.  I used released STAAR question stems.  BUT, the fun part is I created these little arrow head QRS.  You can print them and pass them out to students as they A)  Work well together B)  Find correct proof in the story C) Get the correct answer.  I'm going to have them work in groups for this, so the group earns arrow heads.  Then after each question, pause and let each team scan their arrowhead.  They then get those points for their team, which is a good deal for teams that aren't able to earn as many arrow heads because they have a shot at still winning if they collect enough buffalo!
There are six different pictures that pop up with assigned points (a buffalo gets 500, deer 400 etc, and there is one that does not receive any points).  Here is a printable link to the questions and arrowheads.  I'm planning on giving out beef jerky as an award. 
Printable Link

Monday, November 05, 2018

Tea Gift

This is the year of 40 for so many of my friends.  I was trying to figure out the perfect gift for each.  Next up in the line up is my friend Nicole.  We've had some special memories at tea rooms, so I knew I wanted to do a tea themed gift.  The plan is to celebrate at a tea room shortly, so this should tide her over until then.
I found a tea cup and added her name in vinyl.  I also bought some honey stirrers, a tea dipper thing (whatever those are called), and then I got some test tubes at Michaels, and some different loose teas at Central Market.  I filled the tubes and labeled them with my label maker.

I found a cut box I filled full of tea goodies and shipped them out.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Elf Garland

 I have this white tree, and I decorated in with a ton of vintage Santa ornaments the first year I had it.  Last year, I adorned it with angels, and this year I'm all about the elf....and then I'll start over again next year.  I was trying to decide what garland I wanted to add to the elf tree this year.  Most of my ornaments are green and red.
 I found these little wrapped gifts at Hobby Lobby for 2.99 and 40% off.  I bought 3 packages and used just the red, green, and silver.  I also used some twine.  Originally I thought I'd need to make the holes with this scrapbook poker, but it turns out the embroidery needle I used did the job easily b/c it's a really flimsy shiny paper, and a Styrofoam square.
I did do it towards the top so they wouldn't be spinning around, and I tied a knot once I had it in place to both sides to keep them from sliding around.  I'll be back later with my elves!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Teaching Tuesday: Autobiography vs. Biography

 I recently made a Native American Unit I'm pretty pumped about.  I LOVE teaching through Social Studies.  Obsessively.  It's over 70 powerpoint pages long.  Whoops.  I was covering a bunch of Informational Text TEKS  under the Native American umbrella, hence the teepees, and the examples of autobiography/biography books using real books about the subject.  If things slow down, I throw a printable version on TPT for free, but in the meantime.....here are all the sorting pieces. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

GMT: Dollar Store Pumpkins

Tomorrow I head to GMT to share some Dollar Tree pumpkins.  Here they are waiting to be bedazzled.  You can watch live on Channel 8 around 9ish.  Or, I'll post the video later on facebook.
I have the most archaic iPhone on planet earth, but my plan is to hit up a deal on Nov 10th, so hopefully I can bring all the feeds into the 21st century.  Time to up my Instagram and youtube game I guess as blog goes the way of the buffalo.  BUT, never fear, I'm not giving up here.  I started for me to save recipes and how to's, and I'll be here until the cobwebs make it impossible to get through!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Festive Popcorn

 I do this a lot for favors and gifts (Christmas, Showers), and it's so easy and tasty.  It hits the sweet and salty ratio just right.  This time I made it for an organization that was bringing in some guest speakers and their colors are yellow and this turquoise-ish blue.
 I bought some movie popcorn from Trader Joe's.  It makes 3 healthy size bags.
 I took about half of the chocolate and melted it.  I put mine in a ziplock and set it for a minute.
 I pull it out and start massaging it.  Then I put it back in the microwave for 30 second increments, massaging between each setting until it's liquid.
 I spread the popcorn out on wax paper so that it's one layer and snip the edge of the bag.  I then drizzle back and forth, tossing on sprinkles to the wet chocolate to adhere before it dries.
To get it even more chocolate-y, I toss it a bit when it dries and do more drizzles.  So easy, and a fun way to get any color going. I usually buy the chocolate already colored at the craft stores on sale, but you can also dye white chocolate with food dye to any color you want.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Teaching Tuesday: Snot and Buggers

      Look at me following through two weeks in a row.  Truth, I really am pretty good about following through with things, but I just wasn't sure if I wanted to add a teaching piece to my blog.  Truth, I didn't want to start a new blog either, so I'm just going to be me, which is someone with a lot of pots in the fire.  My goal is to make these more user friendly.  If you don't need teaching tips, skip Tuesday.  I'm not loading printable files today b/c I googled the images from the internet, and I don't want to get in trouble, BUT the ideas are easy to do.  I merged two ideas-SNOTS (Short Notes On The Side).  I have no idea who had that idea first, it was just an acronym I saw written at the top of a paper in a district lesson plan, and I googled what it meant, and another activity via Wade King, which I saw recently on Instragram.  It was done with math, but I found a way to adapt it to reading.  
     The first step is for kids to interact with the text. They write S.N.O.T.S at the top of their paper and then they jot down little thoughts as they are reading the text.  Let them use a green pen or pencil so it looks like they snotted all over their paper.  
     Then give them multiple choice questions.  Group them, print off the answer choices and they have to #1 decide the answer, and #2 go find the write booger that matches (A,B,C,D).  BUT have them put some green dyed vaseline on their nose and make them find the booger and pick it up with their snotty nose and take it back to their desk.  
   Winning team definitely needs some sort of green treat.  Sprite (snot juice) etc.  

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Halloween Shortbread Cookies

 These last few years have been a doozy.  I'm dragging behind on all things holidays right now, but I'm trying to check a few things off my to do list for sanity sake.  I bought these little black boxes two years ago at Michael's.  Two years.  I wanted to make a little Halloween or New Year's treat, but then life happened.  Add to that this recipe for short bread cookies I saw last year on Food Network I've been wanting to try and today I set aside some time.  I do love a decorated iced cookie, but the great thing about these is they are just glazed, so.....that was tonights plan.
 The cookies are really simple to make, and the icing glaze hardens on top, and the cookie literally  melts in your mouth.  I used cookie cutters my pal Kelly gave me from Sur La Table and they fit perfectly inside my box.
I lined the boxes with adorable wax paper I bought at Daiso this year and then added a bow....because no gift is complete without a bow.  So....tomorrow these will finally find a home in some of my pals boxes.  There are a few folks in need of some cookie treats.
Glazed Shortbread Cookies
Makes 2 dz 2 inch cookies.
Ingredients for Cookies:  
3/4 c. butter (softened)
1/2 c. powdering sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 c +2 T flour
1/2 c. corn starch
1/4 t. salt
Ingredients for Glaze:
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 T clear corn syrup
1 T melted butter
2 T warm water
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond flavor
Cookie Instructions:
1.  Mix butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
2.  Add vanilla.
3.  Sift in flour, cornstarch, and salt.
4.  Place in fridge for 30 min-1 hr.
5.  Roll on surface dusted with flour until 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out.
6.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
7.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Don't add color to the dough or it will look dull when finished.
8.  Cool before glazing.
Cookie Glaze Instructions:
1.  Mix all ingredients except for water.
2.  Add 1 T of water at a time until glaze is flowing.
3.  Color if desired.
4.  Use a spoon and drizzle over cookies
5.  Let cookies dry and harden for 10 minutes.