Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winter Break Breather (Linky)

Clutter Free Classroom is having a "What I Did Over Winter Break?" linky party.  I have truly taken a break this year, from my school work (blogging and thoughts not included)!

Welllll, I blogged a little bit (I was trying to make up for lost time and re-create the habit because I was JONESING for a good dose of writing) about the Christmas (yeah, I said it) Party we had for my class as well as the crafts that I've spent a good portion of the break creating.  It feels wonderful to create again and I think that I need to make time every week to spend on making NEW creations.

I also spent a great deal of time with my furbabies.  They have really enjoyed having Mommy home for two weeks and I expect that it will be difficult for all of us when I have to go back to work.

I spend my FIRST Christmas with my Husband (the Christmases of the past that we were together--four years ago--we weren't married yet).  That was pretty special in-and-of-itself.  THEN he got me an iPad2 and so time since Christmas has also been spent looking for, researching, and downloading/playing with iPad apps I can use in the classroom!  ♥

Here are some pics (b/c I'm a pic addict) to illustrate my break:

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Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions!

Boy.  Oh.  Boy.  Am I REALLY willing to feel vulnerable enough to put my resolutions out in cyberspace for, not only everyone to know, but also everyone to hold me accountable for them?  Ehhhh, why not? ;)  Can't hurt; might help, right?

Sooooo, here it is, the Linky Party from A Teacher's Treasure:
If I'm being honest, I haven't made resolutions the past couple of years.  Not because I felt there was nowhere that I needed to improve.  It was because I was...shall we say disenchanted with the whole, "making resolutions" idea.  Totally my fault, I know.  BUT, then I think of my accomplishments in 2011 without the pressure and I take a deep breath...and exhale.  No harm; no foul. ;)

However, in the spirit of renewal, I'm gonna do it.  So here it goes--no fear:

1. I would like to get back into shape.  I know, how cliche', but last year I ran my first 1/2 marathon and then did a 10k the next month.  I was really feeling good about my physical health until I injured my hip doing the above runs.  I finally got x-rays and if the doc says it's okay, I'd like to start preparing to run again this year.  
2. I would like to start creating items to use in my classroom that are worthy of selling on TPT.  The only reasoning behind this is to supplement my income.  The state of Florida is not being very kind to its public schools or teachers and I'd like to be prepared for the cuts that are likely headed our way.
3. I'd like to be more proactive with selling my Premier Jewelry.  This is an income opportunity but I am so apprehensive with asking people to host parties with the economy being so poor.
4. One date night (outside of the home) with my husband per month--something new each time.

1. Finish my Reading Endorsement
2. Begin my Masters
3. Become certified to have interns
4. Improve, improve, IMPROVE!  DAILY!  

There it is, in all its glory, *giggle* so be sure to hold me accountable (really, I NEED it)!  

Have a superfantabulous Friday!

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Top 11 in 2011 Linky Party

I haven't done a Linky Party in quite some time and they are ohsomuchfun!  I've been missing out.  Well, truly, I've been missing my blogging altogether!  Sooooo, here goes, and thank you to Kristen @ a teenytinyteacher for starting such an easy linky (meaning I don't have to think too awful hard to post--DOUBLE WHOOT WHOOT)!

11.  Favorite movie you watched:

Easily, the only movie that I've made a point to watch at least TWICE in one month since it's release:  The Help!  EVERYONE should see this movie!  EVERYONE!  I have  already downloaded the sample from iTunes so that I can read the book, so if I find that I have time to read the sample, then most likely I will purchase the full copy because this is an AMAZING story that can potentially be a life changer, if you need it and let it! 

10.  Favorite TV series:
I feel like, in this day and age, this should have two categories (or maybe even three--drama, comedy, and trashy reality tv).  Since it doesn't, I'll post the most honest answer I can give.  Crud.  I'm  normally a rule follower but I'm gonna have to go outside the parameters this time and give my three.  I'm a rebel.  There.  I said it.
Fave drama:  Grey's Anatomy (if not for the eye candy alone, lately)
Fave comedy:  Modern Family
Fave Reality TV:  X Factor (sorry American Idol, but I believe you've been replaced)

9.  Favorite Restaurant:
Longhorn Steakhouse.  And STILL, after all of these years!  I have NO shame. ;)

8.  Favorite New Thing You Tried:
I'm going to go with blogging on this one.  I started at the beginning of the school year with intentions of teaching my students as I even took a course in it.   THEN technology in my classroom decided otherwise (my projector would not work when connected to my computer and my computer would not work when connected to my projector).  HOWEVER, it was fixed in late November (THANK YOU JESUS) so I'm hoping to get started after we return from the break.

7.  Favorite Gift You Received:
I have to put this on two levels again.  I've been given the blessing of amazing students and parents this year (truly--you couldn't argue if you knew them, I promise)!  I also received an iPad2 from my superfantabulous hubby and am sosuperelated because I can use it at home, on cas (just made that up as a short word for casual experiences--Webster wants to hire me but I'm just toooooooo busy), AND IN MY CLASSROOM!!!

6.  Favorite Thing You Pinned:
This one I have deemed COMPLETELY UNFAIR!~  I'm a pinaholic and I don't care who knows it!  However, to be fair, I pulled up my pins and gave it the good ol' college try.  I failed miserably.  BUT, I'm going to answer anyway.  I think my most favorite thing I pinned was the FIRST thing I pinned because it led to such a fulfilling addiction and has saved me SOOOOO many pennies throughout our ongoing journey.  I LOVE YOU PINTEREST!  What?  You want to know what my first pin was? Oh, me too, sistah!  I have NO idea!  There are too many!  We need a Pinterest Timeline, now (get on it, Facebook)!

5.  Favorite Blog Post:
Hmmm, gimme a second because I need to look back (okay, if I'm being honest, it took A LOT longer than a second to find one I could call my favorite).  GOT IT!  It's my "Thanksgiving" post:

4.  Favorite Accomplishment:
Being selected as a Teacher of the Year nominee at my "new" school and that was a HUGE honor for two (other than the obvious) reasons:  1. We have a FANTASTIC staff and I totally didn't see this coming.  Particularly because I was a Teacher of the Year at the school I left to come to this one.  2. The other two nominees are truly teachers that I have looked up to for YEARS!

3.  Favorite Picture:
Awwww, jeez, this one is hard.  I rarely get my picture taken but I take a TON of pics!  So, although most seem to be posting pics of themselves, I'll post a few (I think we already established that I'm breaking the rules on this one) that I'm not in but that seriously have provided me with so much joy (they're very much out of order):
Kai's smile--it makes me giggle EVERY time!

My light, my heart, my first born son, BAILEY SAMUEL FRED SAHLI-VAN KAMPEN!!!

I was so overcome with emotion here--though you probably can't tell!  I sure wish my mom could've been at the finish line.  Or anyone, for that matter.  :(  BUT, I DID IT!

My cousin, Jessica, and I at the 26.2 with Donna.  We finished our FIRST EVER 1/2 marathon (so we're only 1/2 crazy) and were SOOOOO proud of ourselves!  I figured if my mom can go through chemo, radiation, and a mastectomy and come out smiling, I could do 13.1 and come out smiling for her!  ;)

Kai giving the over-the-shoulder glance.  I can't believe he was ever that small!

Father and Son Bonding Time

The happy couple at his Homecoming from Africa


The River Run--The 10k that 'bout killed me and broke my hip but I FINISHED!

Kai at the vet getting his Big Boy shots (rabies)

A sailor and his baby

My three Golden Delicious Babies

Maizey and I at the pet hospital.  We came VERY close to losing her from some random bug and I was SO GLAD to see her smile return!

The Mr. and I

Kai...landscaping. ;)

Family Portrait

Take your pick, because I surely can't do it!

2. My Favorite Memory:
My mom being declared cancer free, my husband coming home, and the birth of my puppies.  Three way tie.  ;)

1.  Goal for 2012:
Professionally:  Finish my Reading Endorsement and begin classes towards my next degree.
Personally:  Being ON TIME for birthday cards/gifts, Christmas Cards/gifts, etc. so that the people in my life who live far away from me realize that I DO love them (infinity) and can be proactive so that they know that ON THE SPECIFIC DAY designated as theirs.  BIG BREATH.  This will be hard.  :(  WISH ME LUCK!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Got an iPad and IT Got a New Outfit!

Sooo, I already posted about this in my Kraftin' Krystal blog, but I wanted to share a little bit here too because I need some input (other than what I've found on Pinterest)!  My SUPERFANTABULOUS husband bought me an iPad2 for Christmas and I have had OHSOMUCHFUN with it ever since!  For starters, I used a very Pinteresting idea (that actually led to me blogstalking the author long before I even got an iPad) and dressed up my new pretty girl.  The idea came from Little Blue Boo:


And it was ohsofrugal too because I already had everything it needed to be created!  I spent ZILCH!  NADA!  ZIP!  Whhhhhoooooot!!!

Here are my results:

Isn't that the neatest idea EVER?!?!  Well, I mean aside from the iPad itself.  ;)

SO, my question is, I have been wanting one of these because I've been told that they ROCK in the classroom (yes, I realize that's a statement and not a question--stand by), in addition to the fact that I have an unhealthy addiction to new technology (fueled by my need to learn and my husband's unhealthy addiction to new technology).  My question is, which applications do you recommend--keeping in mind that I made my own outfit for a reason--for use in a fifth grade classroom?  I've loaded a few, but I have plenty of memory and want to make sure that I have the best ones for the groups that I teach.  

I've had iPhones for years but have been very selective on which applications I load because of memory restriction (my music library is QUITE large and I didn't sync it to my iPad yet).  So my knowledge of educational apps is limited (of course that's also because I didn't use my iPhone as a classroom tool).  What do all of you techno-savvy recommend?

Thank you, in advance, for any advice that you can offer!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Wonder Snowfest Celebration

Our Christmas (dare I call it that--oh the nerve of me) Party went off without a hitch.  It was snowflake themed, as I have been doing for several years now which is pretty and saves money because I can reuse the decor from the year before.  WIN!

We did a book exchange, white elephant style.  At least I believe that's what you call it.  I let the students draw numbers and they either got to choose a wrapped book when it was their turn, or steal from one of the unwrapped ones.  It was GREAT fun and it appeared as though all students left with a book that they were interested in reading.  I also ordered them all one of the dollar books from Scholastic and they were allowed to trade with other classmates if they got one that they had already read or that didn't interest them.  These are the books, waiting to be wrapped:

I have two reading groups and a homeroom as well so I tried to get a variety so that their reading levels and interests could be matched.

I also made smaller goodie bags for my reading groups (my homeroom was the group I "partied" with so I just had the guidance counselor watch my children watch The Smurfs while I made my deliveries.   :)

So anywhoooo, I also made them breakfast.  They were actually given the choice of pizza or breakfast.  In hindsight, I think next time I'll have them secretly write their votes down and I'll "tally" them up so that pizza wins.

My decor is a combination of last year's and some additional purchases this year as well as some Pinteresting items or items I found while blogstalking. ;)

Well, that's all the party postin' I have for you tonight.  I. Am. Exhausted!  I was puppy sitting for one of my former pups (Maizey's litter that went to their forever homes in June) and it kept me pretty busy.  

Have a great night,

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