Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday Deals

Okay, so let me preface this by saying these start times for the Black Friday sales are starting to get a little ridonculous.  I left with my mom, sister, and aunt at 8:45 on Thanksgiving night.  Here we are, ready to go!

In all honesty, the main reason I go is for socialization.  I can't imagine how many calories I burned, just from laughing.  P.S.  Don't you just love that my sister and I showed up in pretty much the same sweaters!

We first went to Toys R' Us, which opened at 9.  There is only one Toys R Us where we live, and to say it was packed would be an understatement.  The line was about 12 stores long outside.  It was so funny because when we pulled in, my mom commented on how it looked good that a lot of cars were leaving.  Needless to say, we were one of those cars because we were NOT staying in that line!

So off to Wal-Mart we went!  I got smart this year and brought my book with me.  There's a lot of waiting around, particularly by yourself so I got some reading done.  I actually have very little to show for Wal-Mart.  I mainly got gifts for little ones in my family.  I did score a soccer ball for my kiddos for only $4.97.

After Wal-Mart, we went to Target.  I picked up two sweaters and a PJ set for a total of about $35.  You'll notice, I shopped mainly for myself :)  The joys of being 'childless'

Then we went to Kohls.  I really didn't need anything, but I had a coupon so I picked up a scarf and a necklace set.  The line was ridonculous!

Then, we hit up Starbucks.  I am really not a coffee person and this is the one day I drink it.  My husband's aunt suggested cafe mocha and it is really good.  Here's a pic of us at Starbucks.  I'm sure we looked like morons posing at the back of my mom's van, waiting for the self timer to go off.  This was about 4 in the morning. 

We then returned back to Toys R Us, only to discover my aunt left her purse at Starbucks...doh!  After Toys R Us, we went back to my parents house, around 6ish, to drop off our loot and head back out.  Here we are, refreshed and ready to go!

I scored a freezer for us to have in our garage!  I'm pretty stoked about that.  I also picked up these two shirts for $5 each.

I also got some sweet soap from Bath & Body Works.  They all smell soooo good!  I especially love the Christmas scents :)

My best deal of the day was at JCP.  I'm a gold card member, so I periodically get $10 off a $10 or more purchase.  I got these socks and necklace for under $3!  LOVE!

If you have made it to the bottom of this post, kudos to you!  I still think I am behind on my sleep, even though I slept for 14 1/2 hours the next day.  I am off to eat dinner and have an early bed time :)  Happy Monday!  Only 14 more school days until Christmas Break!  Whoop whoop!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cheese Potatoes (Recipe)

Hello everyone!  I hope you had a fantabulous Thanksgiving!  Do any of y'all go Black Friday shopping?  I go every year with my mom and sister and my aunt (when she's in town).  I just love it.  However, they are really getting out of hand with these start times!  In years past, we at least got a little bit of sleep, but this year we got none!  I made up for it though...I slept 14 1/2 hours last night!  I was asleep by 6 last night and didn't wake up until about 8:30ish.  Whew, I got off on a tangent there, huh?  I'll post tomorrow with all the deals I got!

Today I'm going to share with you a recipe for Cheese Potatoes.  I make these every year for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  I actually don't really eat them anymore because I have grown to love my mom's mac & cheese, but it is quite delish.  Warning:  This is NOT a low fat dish!  But, it's for special occasions, so it's totally okay to partake. :)

Excuse the photos...I took almost all of them with my phone!

Cheese Potatoes (serves a lot!)
1 pint half and half
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 lb. Velveeta
2 sticks of butter or margarine
2 bags of hash browns

Here are the stars of the party!  I strongly recommend letting anything that is cold (basically everything except the Velveeta) sit out and get room temperature.  It won't take as long to melt.  You can see I used margarine, but butter would be fine. This was the last of my margarine, as I've recently switched to all butter.

First, grate your cheese.  I usually use already grated since I'm not quite as tempted to grab a fistful of the stuff.

Add everything except the hash browns to your pot.  I would definitely cut up the Velveeta and butter into small pieces.  I am all about not standing over the stove for long and I'm sure you peeps are too :)  Plus, the less time you spend over the stove is just more time to work out in preparation for eating this.  I'm thinking ahead people!  Stir regularly over medium to low heat.  I had mine over low, but it was on my "power burner" so it was probably a 'regular' burners medium to high heat.  You want to melt until it looks like this:

There should be no chunks of Velveeta left (that usually seems to take the longest to melt).

Put the hash browns into a large bowl.  Poor the melted cheese mixture on top and stir until well incorporated.  Turn your oven on to 325 degrees.  I don't know about you, but I never turn my oven on at the beginning of the recipe like they all seem to state. 

Pour into a 9x13 pan.  You don't have to grease or spray with Pam or anything...I never have.

Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and bubbly.

That's it!  Easy peezy!  My family loves this dish, and I hope you do too if you try it!  I'm off to finish getting ready for the USC/Clemson game.  Super excited!  Go Cocks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things I Am Not Thankful For

Jennifer over at First Grade Blue Skies is having a linky party for the things we are not thankful for.  Since I've already covered what I'm thankful for, these are some things that I could really do without:

1.  Paperwork.  Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in it!  This includes the gobs of papers I bring home to grade (that never see the light of day because they stay in my bag forever).

2.  Laundry.  It never, ever ends!  Almost everything I wear doesn't get dried, so I have to iron it all.  I've been avoiding it for a while so this past weekend I ironed for like 3 hours.  3 hours people!  It helped that I could watch Millionaire Matchmaker and Hannibal to pass the time.

3.  Pessimists.  Yes, we get it, you are unhappy. 

4.  Dog haters.  You all know I love my pup.  We were at my mom's house for dinner last night, and someone made the comment "Don't bite me."  Never mind the fact he's never bit anyone before in his life.  Leave my pup alone.

5.  College football ending.  Yes, I know, it's not over yet.  But this week is Carolina's last regular season game.  Then we'll have to wait like a month for the bowl game.  Then it's all over.  Although, I AM looking forward to Spurrier's Ladies Day Clinic!  I posted a little bit about that here.

So those are the 5 things I am "ungrateful" for.  Again, this is all for fun, so I hope you head over and link up!


Monday, November 21, 2011

So Very Thankful

This will be a quick little post because I am extremely bitter jealous busy with work tomorrow!  I have had a lot of friends on Facebook putting what they are thankful for everyday.  I love the idea, but there is no way I could keep up with that!  If my head wasn't screwed on, I'd be losing that too :)  So this linky party that What the Teacher Wants and Oh Boy! 4th Grade are having is awesome!  You should most definitely link up!

What I am most thankful for in my classroom is my sweet associate teacher Ms. Ray and my wonderful students.  They are so very sweet!

The person I am most thankful for is my husband.  He supports me in every way imaginable and I wouldn't be able to keep my sanity without him!  Also, my dog Gizmo.  For those of you haters who say a dog is not a person, my dog is, thank you very much!

There is no way I can limit it to three blogs I am most thankful for!  I love all of the blogs on my blog roll.  I guess I'll try to limit it.

A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  Need I say more?  I'm sure you know who I'm talking about.  Kristen (I say this like she's my BFF) is high-larious!  Seriously, my heart might go slightly aflutter when I see a new post from her.   Plus, she's super generous with materials (I'm totally using her antonyms activity tomorrow!)

Step Into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons.  Can you say amazing?  This is another fabulous blogger who is super generous with materials.  I modeled my clock numbers after her!

Ladybug's Teacher Files.  Are you sensing a theme here?  Of course, someone else who is extremely generous in sharing materials.  She is super-organized and I only wish I could be like her, one day!

I have many guilty pleasures I am thankful for, including Real Housewives of New Jersey (NYC & OC too).  Really, TV in general is a guilty pleasure of mine.  I love TV!  I am also addicted to pinterest, like so many of you!

I am most thankful for my life in general.  As my blog title states, I am living a wonderful life (I really wanted It's a Wonderful Life but it was already taken).  I have wonderful family, friends, and coworkers.  My dog is the sweetest pup ever and I'm almost done with this semester of grad school!

Head on over and link up!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Field Trip and Word Work

Yesterday we went on a field trip to Charles Town Landing.  My kids LOVED it!  It tied in nicely with what we're studying now and was a lot of fun.  I enjoyed it a lot more than our field trip to the aquarium, because everything was so spread out and it was easier to keep my kiddos with me.  I may have had some kids try to take off escape really excited, but it was fun.

A few weeks ago, the director of the intervention program I teach visited my classroom for a full morning because they were concerned my students weren't getting enough ELA minutes.  It's incorporated into Science & SS, but she said I really needed to incorporate the components of reading during S.S., like word works, vocabulary, & fluency.  She is so sweet and kept saying "I know everything I'm telling you is more work."  Well, yes, it is.  But, I want my kids to get what they need.  Plus, this is SO much better than what I was worried she might say which was:  You need an ELA block and won't be able to teach both Science and S.S. every day.

So this week, we started our new S.S. block.  My kids really like it (so far).  I split them into two groups:  a low group and a high group (blue and red groups to them).  My high group always starts with word work.  This week, they sorted based on sounds (ea and oo), sorted vce and non-vce words (they also had to write why the e was important), and filled in the blanks on sentences with oa words.  My low group worked on matching words to picture (ee, oo, & oa words) and sorting vce and non-vce words.  So far, they are going well.  When they worked with me, we worked on our Native Americans assessment and discussed how we can use a piece of text (our book) to help answer questions.  We also reenacted (with raffle tickets and M & Ms) how trade went with the Native Americans and Europeans.  Then, they wrote about how the Native Americans felt in their S.C. History Journal.  Next week, we're going to be using a rebus to learn about the different groups of settlers in S.C.  We only have 2 days of school, so I'm hoping we'll be able to finish this rebus because I'm pretty sure we're behind in S.S. so we've got to move it!

Here are the documents I made.  I had a different font, but it won't show up on scribd for some reason.  I used Pea Heather Michele and smiley monster from Nick and Amanda of course.  Well, I fixed that problem by saving it as a PDF, but now it shows up all funky on the preview, but it should download correctly.  I'm not sure if this is something you could use, but it might be helpful!

Ea Word Sort



Oo Word Sort


Picture Word Match for Journal

Vce Word Sort


Congrats to those of you who have next week off!  We have Monday and Tuesday so it shouldn't be too bad! 

P.S.  Can you believe this Clemson game!  LOVE IT!  I just hope we can whip up on them next week and make it 3 years in a row!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Funny Things Kids Say & Chair Tallies

Don't kids say the funniest things? 

The other day at lunch, one of my kids said when he grows up he wants to be a manager at McDonald's so he can put eggnog on the menu!

Today, we introduced Chair Tallies.  My kiddos are constantly leaning back, forward, sideways, you name it, in their chair.  It was driving me bonkers.  I don't want them falling and hurting themselves so I made up chair tallies.  I have my kids in groups so what happens is each time they are not sitting in their chair appropriately, their group gets a tally.  Whichever group has the fewest tallies at the end of the day gets 5 points towards their group (we also do group points).  One group today had close to 50 tallies! 

So anywhos, I started tallying as soon as I saw the first incident.  It didn't take long for them to catch on to why I was putting tallies on our new Chair Tallies sign.  At morning meeting, I introduced the infractions that would cause their groups to get a tally.  One student, who had already caused his groups 4 tallies (by 7:45!) was kind of complaining and I tried to explain to him that for him, it was probably a habit, kind of like how I bite my nails (I know, I know....yuck, but I blame grad school!).  So then he says "I'm not a bunny rabbit that chews carrots."


Say what?!

I just kind of sat there with a really confused look on my face (kind of like Joey's Smell the Fart Acting)

He just kept saying over and over that he was not like a bunny that just eats and eats carrots.  My other kids tried to explain, but I just didn't see the connection (do y'all?).  I think what he was trying to say was that rabbits eat carrots all the time without thinking, but I just thought it was such a random connection!

I made a cute little chair tallies sign, but it's saved on my work computer since I left my flash drive at home yesterday when I made it.  In other exciting news, I was one of the top 3 finalists for teacher of the year at my school!  I didn't make it, but to be voted in the top 3 was super surprising and a nice honor.  Okay, now that I feel like a politician, I'm heading out to work on LPs for the week after Thanksgiving...blahhh.  Hope everyone is doing well and we're almost to Thanksgiving Break!  Whoop whoop!


Friday, November 4, 2011

November Currently

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving?  Okay, so I might be slightly jumping ahead, but here's my logic:
  1. There are only two full weeks of school left.
  2. Our make up day from Irene (pretty sure we were the only people in the country to cancel school that day) is on Veterans Day and we're having a big assembly, so you can't really count that can you?
  3. We have a field trip on the 18th. 
  4. So really, I don't have two full weeks left.  We're pretty much there.
So anywhos, I definitely need a break because I totally forgot I had class last night.  I got home and was wasting time on Facebook and I saw it was a girl's birthday in my class.  Suddenly, it dawned on me that she had mentioned we shouldn't have class on the 3rd since it was her birthday.  Frantic, I found my calendar and sure enough, class at 7.  Luckily it was only 5:30 so I made it, but I totally would've missed it!  It might help if I had my calendar turned to November and took it out of my bag every now and then, but I digress.

I am determined to do some work on this grad school stuff tonight so this is a short post.  I really hope you head over to Farleys and link up what you're doing!  I'd love to see it :)

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