Friday, July 27, 2012

Homemade Classroom Resources

At one point during my college career I highly debated not using my elementary education degree after I received it.  Things were too standardized, too stressful, and the overall impression I got of teachers I observed was that I should "get out while I still can before things get even worse in our school systems".  That was actually said to me.  

I could not be more glad for choosing to use the talent God has given me by teaching children in the community in which I live.  I want my classroom to be a bright, fun, exciting and safe place to be.  I have been working  (when my 3 month old daughter lets me put her down!) on things for my classroom to make it a place where the students will feel their mornings brighten as soon as they walk in to it.  These are a few things I have made for my room.  Note that I stole some of these ideas off of Pinterest and from other teachers I have spoken with.  Some of them are good ol' originals though! 

Classroom Jobs!  This is how I will give my students 'jobs' this year.  These are laminated and glued on the poster board in the middle so that I can put tiny clothespins (with the student's numbers on them) on the jobs so they know who does what each week.  P.S.-Those clothespins are the cutest things I've ever seen! I got them at Walmart and they are seriously the smallest things in the world! Perfect for this project! 

Where are you?  This is how I will keep track of where my students go during the day.  I cannot tell you how many times last year I would start a lesson only to realize that I still had 2 or 3 students in the library or the bathroom.  This way when each students leaves my room they will place their number under where they are going and I will know where each student is at all times! Especially good for center time when kids are all over the room and it's hard to tell if a couple are out of the room or not! 

How do we get home?  There were many times last year when I would get a 'buzz' from the office letting me know that a student is supposed to go home a different way than normal.  Using clothespins on this sign I made will help students remember how they get home and will remind me which line they should line up in at the end of the day! And it's just super cute! :-)

I saw an idea for this on Pinterest and changed it up to suit my grade level and what I like to do in small groups.  Each piece is a tier of Blooms Taxonomy Higher Order Thinking and has questions that relate to each tier that students can answer during/after reading in small groups. (Or reading anything, for that matter!) I think that these will be super useful because after a couple of times I tend to ask the same questions over and over.  These questions promote higher order thinking and help students relate what they're reading to their lives.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I bought this set of 3 cups at the Dollar Tree for a dollar.  I wanted to make sure that my students know that their birthday is important, so each of them will get a pencil and a little prize on their birthdays.  For students with summer birthdays, they will get their items right before summer.  
The 'Wait...Did you remember to write your name?" cup is going to be a life-saver for me this year! For some reason my students LOVED leaving their names off of their papers last year and it was a huge hassle.  I will put highlighters in this cup and students have to highlight their name on EVERY ASSIGNMENT before they turn it in.  Why didn't I think of this sooner?
And my 'Brain Breaks' cup.  I did not utilize brain breaks last year and I'm really excited about doing it this year.  I think it's super necessary and that students will really enjoy it.  I will simply pull out a tongue depressor and read what's on it.  I came up with a lot of great ideas for brain breaks and I am excited to do them with my kiddos! I attached the strips of paper onto the tongue depressors with contact paper.  It took quite a while but I'm sure it will be worth it!

Each student will have a snack baggie with two spoons in it, a 'Y' spoon and a 'N' spoon.  I will ask students to pull these out to check understanding and for many other uses! I bought these at the dollar tree and wrote on them with paint pens!

These are my favorite new resource! We have to post our weekly objective in our classroom for each subject area.  I used a different piece of paper last year for each objective each week and I ended up using lots of trees! Also, I stapled them over-top each other and it just looked like a hot mess after about 10 weeks! This is a cute and efficient way of posting objectives and the students can even write it for me! 
Sorry the picture is sideways!

This was ridiculously long but I hope you will get some great ideas from it!  Making these resources was super fun and I cannot wait to get them in my classroom! 

Sour Cream and Bacon Crockpot Chicken!

This is one of my husband's favorite meals! Super easy to make and delicious!  Just throw it in the crockpot and in  about 5 hours you will have a fantastic dinner! 

               8 bacon slices
               8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
               2 (10 oz) cans roasted garlic cream of mushroom soup
               1 cup sour cream
               1/2 cup flour (all purpose or gluten free blend)
               Salt and pepper to taste

1.    Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat until some of the fat is rendered. Be sure that the bacon is still pliable and not crisp. Drain on paper towels. If you use this method, reduce the flour to 1/4 cup. Or don’t cook the bacon and proceed with the recipe.
2.             Then wrap one slice of bacon around each boneless chicken breast and place in a 4-5 quart crockpot.
3.             In medium bowl, combine condensed soups, sour cream, and flour and mix with wire whisk to blend. Pour over chicken.
4.             Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken and bacon are thoroughly cooked. You may want to remove the chicken and beat the sauce with a wire whisk so it is very well blended.
5.             Pour sauce over chicken.
6.             If you have a newer crockpot, check the chicken at 5 hours. The internal temp should be 160 -170 degrees F.

Notes:  Serve over rice, couscous, or wide egg noodles.


These are now one of my most favorite things to make! What’s super wonderful is that you can serve these as an appetizer or for a dinner.  They are filling and an easy alternative to making homemade lasagna.  
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella (or as much as you want!)
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese (or as much as you want!)
  • 4 ounces Ricotta cheese
  • (optional) basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. My muffin tins are old and just don’t come clean anymore so I used cupcake liners.  I’m sure they would be more crisp if you didn’t use them though.
Brown beef and season with salt and pepper. Drain.
 Place two wonton wrappers in each mold of the cupcake pan.  I gently pushed and placed the wonton wrappers where I wanted them.  It gives them a rustic look! 
4. (
Reserve 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 6 tablespoon mozzarella for the top of you cupcakes.)  Start layering your lasagna cupcakes. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese, Ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Top with a little meat and marinara sauce. Use around 1-2 teaspoons of all the ingredients depending on your personal preference.
Repeat layers ending with marinara sauce. Top with reserved Parmesan and mozzarella cheese
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To remove use a knife to loosen the edges then pop each lasagna out.
Garnish with basil and serve.
ENJOY! :-)

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

I had an absolutely INCREDIBLE dinner this evening! I haven’t gone grocery shopping this week and payday is tomorrow, so we were slightly low on ingredients.  I was growing thru my pins on  Pinterest and found this one.  I actually had all of the ingredients because  they are practically staples in a household.   The recipe is called Crispy Cheddar Chicken and Cody and I made happy plates!  The link to the recipe is below…it was super delish!


My day has had a lack of fantastic in it.  As I said in earlier posts, my knees are all messed up.  I got the results back from my blood tests today and I have arthritis.  Who knew a 24 year old could get arthritis? It sucks. I will be going to see a rheumatologist soon to see what kind I have, what caused it and how I can manage the pain.  Please say a prayer for me!
Because of my pretty crappy day I decided I needed some comfort food.  I created a spin off of a traditional ‘Crescent Chicken’ recipe and made my own.  It is more casserole like and it was even more tasty than the previous recipes I’ve made. I also made Parmesan Noodles.  Yes, I love carbs.
Ingredients for Crescent Chicken:
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (8 count) can crescent dinner rolls, uncooked
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.  Mix together the cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cheese and milk in a heavy saucepan and cook on medium heat until well melted.
3.  Stretch (carefully) 4 of your crescent rolls and lay them along the bottom of a greased pyrex pan.
4.  Place cooked chicken across the spread-out crescent rolls.
5.  Layer the soup/cheese mix over the top of the chicken.
6.  Place the rest of the 4 stretched crescent rolls on top of the soup/cheese mix.
7.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until to is golden and bubbly! 
Ingredients for Parmesan Noodles: (I eyeball the ingredients each time I make it. You really can’t go wrong!)
  • 1 pack spiral egg noodles
  • 4 tbs butter
  • garlic salt to taste
  • parmesan cheese to taste
1.  Cook noodles according to package.  Drain and put back in pan.
2.  Add butter and stir with noodles until melted.
3.  Add garlic salt to taste and parmesan cheese to taste.
And you’re done!
It is easy and delicious! Perfect to go with virtually any meal!
What’s great about these recipes is that they make extra so my husband can take it to work for lunch the next day!
Hope you enjoy as much as we did! :-)

Come and get 'em!

Come and get 'em while they're hot!
Last night I had some friends over and we grilled burgers and brats.  I was sick of the potato salad, fries and other traditional sides that people usually make with burgers.  I decided to mix it up a bit and try out some ‘Three Cheese Grilled Potatoes’, made on the grill.  They were absolutely delicious and I’ve decided I need to share!
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • I medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
  • I tbs minced chives
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs butter (I used like 4!)
  • 1 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used more of this, too!)
1.  In a large bowl combine the first six ingredients.  transfer to a double thickness of greased heavy-duty foil. 
2.  Cut your butter into pieces and place inside potatoes.
3.  Fold foil around potato mixture and seal tightly. (This took a LOT of foil!)
4.  Grill, covered completely, over medium heat for 15-18 minutes on each side, or until  potatoes are tender.
5.  Carefully open foil. (It’s HOT!) Sprinkle the bacon and cheese over potato mixture.  Grill 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  
Serves 4-6, depending on how hungry you are!
These are seriously delicious.  It’s a must-try for your summer cookout!
ENJOY! :-)

DINNER- Tortilla Pizzas!
Tonight I wanted to make a super simple dinner because I didn’t want to be standing for too long due to my knee pain. :-(
I took two soft taco sized tortillas and buttered one side of each of them (the sides of the tortillas that will be on the outside of the pizza).  I simply added sauce, pepperonis, and cheese…put it on my George Foreman Grill and let it cook for about 4 minutes! It gets crispy and perfect inside! What’s great is that you can make ANY type of pizza you want and it is super fast and yummy! And of course, you’ve gotta have salad with pizza! I even made extras for Cody to take for lunch tomorrow!
Super simple, quick and delicious! :-)

Mommy, Wife, Teacher, Cook...


I am reposting this from my previous blog that I started about a month ago.  I didn't like anything about the website I was using so I've decided to start using this one! 
Nowadays everyone seems to have a blog.  I’ve seen lots of blogs related to kids, cooking, teaching, etc. This will be about all of those.
I became a mommy on April 30th of this year.  So far it is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced.  I never knew that the type of love I was feeling for Olivia was even possible…that such a love existed.  I am so blessed.  Yes, I had an epidural.  No, I didn’t breastfeed. Yes, Olivia has received her first round of vaccines.  I don’t care for all of the hype regarding the way I have chosen to bring my child into the world.  This is how I will travel my road…you can turn down whichever road you’d like, as long as you don’t lecture me about it!
I don’t know how I did it, but I bagged the greatest husband and father to my child that I could’ve ever dreamed of! I don’t deserve him but I thank God every day because I know that he created my husband just for me. It makes me realize how special I am to THE God that created the world and who looks after every person on it.  He took time to create a man who can deal with me. :-)
I LOVE to cook.  I cook dinner for my husband almost every single night. I will share my recipes on here because they are super delicious and you know you want to make them for your family! I rarely follow written recipes.  I usually will take a concept from a recipe and create my own from it.  That’s the way I like to do it and it usually turns out better than what I even imagined! 
This school year will be my third year as a teacher.  I could not imagine doing anything else with my life (besides being a stay at home mom, which is impossible).  I have created lots of cute things for my classroom that I will share on here that are very easy to make.  I have a true passion for teaching children in a way that they will remember what they have learned.  I am so lucky to be teaching where and with who I teach.  
I have no idea if anyone will even read this.  If not, I guess I will just use it as a journal about my life! Follow me and find out why I love my life so much! 
Mommy, Wife, Cook, Teacher…This is my life as I know it.