Monday, August 31, 2009

CrabFest '09

On Saturday, J and I drove back to our home town for an afternoon of crabs and beer. My college's local alumni chapter threw a crab feast with, not only crabs, but shrimp, corn on the cob, hot dogs, and Starr Hill beer for the wonderful cost of $29 a person. This was quite the deal considering it was all you could eat and drink...and best of all, it was a good chance to catch up with friends and play some corn hole.

J didn't go to my JMU, but even he had a great time. And really, how could you not have fun when there are unlimited crabs and bottomless kegs?

Definitely a worthwhile event that I'm already planning on going to again next year!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Happenings

Oh Sunday...

Today I have: been to the gym, made our meal plan for the week, bought groceries, ate crab & veggie soup, bathed our smelly but adorable dog, vacuumed the apartment, played on where I edited the picture of this rose.

Today I will: upload pictures to my computer from yesterday's trip to Richmond, call a friend, call my mom for a mexican egg frittata recipe, make that egg frittata for dinner, watch Sunshine Cleaning, buy some new music...most likely Punch Brothers and Fiction Family, cherish my last few hours of summer before going back to work tomorrow

Blog Makeover: Help with Scrapblog

Here's the long awaited scrapblog tutorial post! I am, by no means, an expert on this, but I'm going to try to answer some of the questions you all had about scrapblog in this post...

And for those who don't care, just ignore this post!
Sorry to interrupt my normal blog postings!

Part 1: HUH? What do I do?

Ok, step one, set up an account on the scrapblog website. Once you've done that and you're signed in, click on "Create New Scrapblog", this is on the left side of the screen. A new window will pop up that will look like this.

The main elements I use are stickers, backgrounds, frames, and texts. Browse through these, play around, and find what you like. I've found that this is a program that works best if you have time to really sit down and play with it.

Part 2: Free or Not Free?

Scrapblog has some elements that are free, and some cost money. Once you make an account, I recommend you just play around for a little bit. You'll notice that some items when you roll your mouse over them get big and you will see nothing in the top right corner. This means that the object is free. So, as you can see below, the flower I rolled over is free. I'd just have to click on it and it will then be available for me to add to my page.

As you can see here, this Friends Forever sticker has a little coin in the right corner. When you see that coin, it means you'll have to buy credits from scrapblog to use that sticker or item. The credits aren't much, but if you're like me, you'll be cheap and use the free stuff!

Part 3: How do I save?

First, you have to publish. That is at the top of your screen. Once you've published go to File, Export as JPEG. Then just download like you normally would.

Afterwards, if you have a mac, just go to iPhoto (or any other photo editing software, like Picasa, which is a free download) and import the JPEG. Once you are in iPhoto (or another editing program) you can crop and resize the image to fit and work on your blog.

Once you've edited the JPEG down to the size you like, go to the blogger layout tab and click edit where the header is. This is what pops up:

You will want to change the setting to "Instead of title and description" and "shrink to fit". This will work best for the header you just made.

Now, some of you may notice and box surrounding your banner. If you want to get rid of it, you will need to go to "Fonts & Colors" under the layout tab.

Change the border color to whatever your blog background color is...for instance, my blog is white, so I make the border color white. This eliminates the box from showing up.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Hopefully, this will be some help for those of you who have been trying to figure out scrapblog and how to fix up your own blog. Again, I'm not a pro, everything I've done on my own blog has involved a lot of trial and error. Just play around with it, and you'll come up with something you like!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Wedding Shower

Today on Kelly's "Show Us Your Life", the theme is Wedding Showers. I had a shower thrown for me by two wonderful women who I've known for most of my life. The shower was mainly friends of my mom's, and they were all women who were a part of my life growing up. It was a kitchen shower, so all of the gifts I received were kitchen themed. As a favor, the hostess' let everyone take a wooden spoon with a bow on it home with them. I loved this idea!

Also...funny story about the beautiful cupcakes...the host who had us all over to her house has two yellow labs. The morning before the shower, one of her labs ate about half of my beautiful cupcakes off a table. Luckily, the dog was okay and we still had pretty cupcakes to display and eat!

(These were some of my goodies to take home!)

My (very wonderful and beautiful) bridesmaids threw a Bachelorette Party/Lingerie Shower for me. They got a hotel room in the city, and we started the night here opening gifts, playing games...the usual! Afterward, we went out to some of the bars near by, where I got hit on by a Kanye look alike. Sadly, there are no pictures on my computer from that part of the evening!

Good Things

Good things going on right now...
  • My classroom set up is pretty much done! I am so happy that I can focus on other things next week.

  • Our city recently fenced in a dog park just two blocks from our apartment. Layla and I are thrilled by this new addition to our neighborhood.
  • Last night, I made Penne with Ricotta, Parmesan, and Peas. This recipe was so easy and delicious! I may have thrown in a few spoonfuls of garlic, though...I can't make a meal without garlic! And I threw in some bacon. How can you not love bacon in your pasta?
  • My new favorite Pandora Station: Nickel Creek...a little bit folky, a little bit bluegrass, I listen to it every night while I'm cooking dinner.
  • I saw one of my old students at school yesterday. It warmed my heart a little that she stopped by to see me as she was on her way to an SCA meeting.
  • I've been spending a lot of time at the gym lately in an effort to reduce the size of my hips and thighs. I realized a few days ago that a lot of my fall pants for school are not going to fit. It was kind of a good push to get me in the gym, as I've really been slacking for most the summer.
  • Hopefully, getting in one more beach/pool day this weekend before I head back to work next week!
  • We have a fun outing planned for tomorrow...there's a possibility that we're gonna get poured on thanks to Hurricane Danny, but I'm still looking forward to it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


First of all, I need to say thanks to Mojito Maven for the $50 GAP gift card that I won from her blog! Everyone loves giveaways...but this one was a pretty great one! Due to the fact that I'm 25 and my body has decided to stop metabolizing the way it has for the past 24 years, I am in need of some new jeans. Can't wait to go shopping!

Secondly, I want to link to Kate's post today about becoming a mom one day. Kate so easily says so many of the things I think and feel about becoming a mom, and if you don't read her blog, now's a good time to start. This post is excellent.

And finally, I have another recipe for you! This one comes from For The Love of Cooking. I wanted to bake something for the ladies who work in the front office at my school, as they're always so helpful, and throughout this whole moving classrooms thing, they've gone above and beyond for me. Last night I baked them a loaf of chocolate chip and walnut zucchini bread. The recipe makes two loaves, so we got to try some, too. It was so warm and delicious! My only change to the original recipe: I used sugar. No Xagave for me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Slowly but surely...

Progress is being made! Here's a little peak at what I got done in my classroom today!

You all left me such sweet messages yesterday...thanks for the encouragement!

Adventures in Yard Sale-ing

I love reading Raechel Myers' blog on Saturdays to see what she finds on her yard sale-ing adventures. This gal finds some great stuff for some even better prices on her Saturday escapades. This past Saturday, J and I tried our hands at it, and we were able to find a few cool things...

J's purchases:
2 teddy bears for Layla to destroy, $1
He spoils her rotten. She's already in heaven...can't you tell?

Old Clock, $5
This clock was made from an old train schedule. The train company was and still is based in our city. He's going to hang it amongst the old maps that he collects and frames.

My purchases (all school related!):
Games (Boggle, Scattegories Jr., and Connect 4), $4
My students love having game days, but I refuse to buy games for my classroom at full price since I know pieces will get lost and people will mistreat them. I was so excited by this bargain!

20 books, $5 ($0.25 a piece)
Again, kids are rough on everything in my classroom. All the books in my class library have been bought used. I was happy to find a yard sale put on by middle school girls trying to make some cash, as they had bookshelves full of young adult books.

And the deal of the day...
A cardboard box full of math manipulatives, $12
A veteran teacher was selling all of these, and when she saw me walk up to the table she offered me the whole thing for $12. She probably would've let me talk her down to $10, but I was thrilled to get several hundred dollars worth of stuff for twelve bucks!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Classroom Hell

Thanks for all the sweet comments about my blog's new look! A few of you had some questions and asked for a mini tutorial...I'll try to put one together in the coming week! And to answer one question that a lot of you have asked, scrapblog is a free service, however, it does have some elements that do require money. If the item you want to use requires "credits", then you will need to pay. If it says nothing about credits, it's free and yours' to use! Everything you see on my blog was done using just the free stuff.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

School teacher ramblings below...

My first official day back at school is next Monday. However, since I've had to move classrooms, I headed in today to start the process of setting up my classroom.
Why did I move classrooms? My school hired a fifth grade teacher last October, after school had started, and she was placed in our first grade hall. They wanted to move her to the fifth grade hall, and in turn, 5 other teachers got misplaced due to a domino effect. I was one of those very lucky teachers who was asked to move rooms.

It's been a long, exhausting day. When I moved out of my old room, I packed up about 40 boxes. Today, I found those boxes stacked on a shelf, five boxes high. I worked for about eight hours, but I'm happy to report that every box has been opened. I've still got a lot to do, but I know a lot of progress was made today. My back is so sore from moving furniture and boxes all by myself, and from bending over picking things up, and placing them in cabinets. I've always hated moving (who doesn't?) so this whole experience has been pretty lousy, and yes, I am a little bitter and grumpy about it. I'm trying to have a good attitude, but there have been so many issues with this move that it's been difficult to stay positive.

Hopefully, though, this room will be put together and ready by Friday so that when I go back to work for in-service week next week, I can focus on my job and not the way my classroom looks! And really, my day wasn't that bad. After all, I did come home today to a husband who is going to make me Mongolian for dinner, and he brought the oreos and a glass of milk to me as I whined about my day from the sofa. He's certainly been the high point in my day!

Here a few pictures of what it's looking like now...hopefully next time I post pictures it will actually resemble a classroom!

When I walked in can see about half of the boxes in this picture

Here's the room at 4:30...I know it looks like a tornado went through...but I promise progress really was made!

My desk; it will probably have this much crap piled on it all year!

Now off to eat Mongolian made by my personal chef! Maybe if you ask nicely, I can ask him to share his recipe!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Blog Design

Thanks to those of you who already noticed and commented on my new blog design!

Friday evening, J and I stayed in for the night, and I spent a portion of my night working on my little blog makeover. If you're interested in doing a blog makeover yourself, a great sight to use is Scrapblog. It's easy to use, and it's fun to design your own header and labels.

I have very little talent when it comes to computers, I leave that up to my husband. But this really is an easy program to use if you don't want to pay someone to design your blog. Feel free to email me if you have more questions!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to School Shopping

When I was a kid, my mom would always take my sister and me out to the mall to buy some new things before school started. We also had a rule that whatever new things we bought, we couldn't wear until the first day of school. Here are a few of my favorite back to school outfits...feel free to laugh:




Now that I'm a teacher, I still do the same thing in August; however, my mom is no longer paying for them! I'm a big girl who makes my own money now, so it looks like I'm paying for my new wardrobe all by myself! I still stand by the rule that I don't wear any of my new stuff until school actually begins. I am finding this really difficult right now with all the cute new things in my closet!

All of these below purchases are from Ann Taylor LOFT...who by the way, give teachers a 15% discount every time we shop. One of the many reasons I do most of my shopping here...that and the $25 coupons you can get now when you spend $50!

I've also ordered these adorable moccasins from Lands End (here and here). And you can't really beat a comfy, cute pair of shoes for $15. Teaching fourth grade requires the most comfortable, slipper like shoes you can find!

I still have a few other things I'm looking at buying before September 8, but I am trying to hold out for better deals...I'm a bargain shopper, have I mentioned this yet? If you've found anything that's adorable and cozy, feel free to share with me!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Yesterday I went to see Julie & Julia (loved it, by the way) and came home wanting to cook up a storm! After a few requests from a few of you, I figured it was time to share what I've been up to in my kitchen!

Last night I made Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, and Grilled Beer Chicken. According to my husband, I am allowed to make this again next week. I am pretty sure that's code for, "OMG, this is so delicious!"

As I've mentioned before, I have come to love sweet potatoes in the past year. I try to add them into at least one meal a week. Not only can they be cooked in a hundred different ways, but they are also so good for you. This recipe was a little bit of work, but it was well worth it. My only change to the original recipe was I cut out the butter and just used EVOO before I put them in the oven.

Here's a picture after they were boiled...if I were a better blogger I'd have a picture of the finished product, but, unfortunately we had gobbled them up by the time I thought about taking a photo!

Now the beer chicken on the other hand, I didn't cut out any butter, I used the whole stick in the marinade, and it was well worth it. These drum sticks were delicious! We usually just eat chicken breasts, so I thought this might be a fun way to switch it up, although many of the commenters on the recipe post wrote about how they used breasts. Up to you I guess. Either way, this chicken was so juicy and yummy! Additionally, we live in an apartment with no grill. If you're in the same boat, invest in a cast iron grill pan! I'm pretty sure this is the one we have from Target, it's nothing fancy, and it's not too pricey, but it's been doing a fabulous job for two years now!

Enjoy...let me know if you give either of these a try!