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Archive for July, 2008

I made a pretty green dress from Simplicity 3622.  I used jersey knit fabric.  The dress was challenging, partly because the sleeves had 6 elastic casings between them.  Here are some pictures of how it went.

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Here’s how I made a chicken and rice casserole.

I mixed 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 cup water, and 1 cup rice in a casserole dish.

I mixed 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 cup water, and 1 cup rice in a casserole dish.

I used frozen peas, baby carrots (halved), and sliced mushrooms.

I used frozen peas, baby carrots (halved), and sliced mushrooms.

The peas came out of the bag as a frozen, green ball.

The peas came out of the bag as a frozen, green ball.

I stuck the green ball of peas in the microwave for 1 minute.

I stuck the green ball of peas in the microwave for 1 minute.

Add the veggies to the casserole dish.

Add the veggies to the casserole dish.

Mix.

Mix.

I used frozen chicken breasts.

I used frozen chicken breasts.

I also added dried thyme and sage.

I also added dried thyme and sage.

I sprayed the chicken with Olive Oil Pam and sprinkled it with Garlic and Herb Mrs. Dash seasoning.

I sprayed the chicken with Olive Oil Pam and sprinkled it with Garlic and Herb Mrs. Dash seasoning.

I cooked it (at 350 or 375?) until my meat thermometer informed me that my dinner was ready.

I cooked it (at 350 or 375?) until my meat thermometer informed me that my dinner was ready.

I served it with a salad and it was quite tasty!

I served it with a salad and it was quite tasty!

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Teachers love to write notes about student progress, behavior, parent communication, etc.  Keeping track of them so that you can refer to them on a later date can be difficult.  Sure, you can write on a sheet of paper on a clipboard and later put it into a binder, but then you have two locations of paperwork for a student (you use the sheet on the clipboard until it is full).  You can’t just keep everything in the binder, because it’s terribly awkward to walk around your classroom with a binder flapping open.

I looked into a hybrid spiral (spiral notebook that has binder qualities to it), but it just didn’t seem right.

Last year, I used a large spiral.  I divided it into sections for each subject and numbered one page for each student, per section.  That didn’t work well, because one student would have information in several different places.  Plus, if I ran out of room, I had to flip to a new page at the back of the section, thus adding more places to look for info on a child.

This year, I put numbered sticky notes every 5 pages of a spiral (I assign each student a number — it saves me from replacing name stickers on items each year).  To keep the sticky notes from bending, I covered them with packing tape.  Thus, I had created a spiral that had a section of pages for each student, with tabs (numbered on both sides) for easy referencing.

Of course, the outside of the spiral looked quite awful.  I looked at scrapbooking papers, stickers, and decorations online, and came across some blue ginham that looked quite lovely.  I decided to make my own blue ginham page.

I took a piece of blue printer paper, drew thick lines with a blue highlighter (vertically), drew thick lines with a darker blue marker (horizontally), and colored the entire paper with blue colored pencil (That was a lot of shading!).  After that, I trimmed the paper to fit the spiral cover, printed a scrapbooking tag with a title on it, and then covered my new spiral cover with clear packing tape for durability.

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Sweet Husband’s words:  “Your office is no longer messy, Honey.  I can hear an echo.”

The first half of July, I collected items for my classroom.  To be specific, I nested.  What did I do with everything?  Well, I put everything in several piles in my home office.  It got to the point where I couldn’t walk around without holding on to something for balance or to keep it from falling over.

 

In the past, I read the FlyLady book (Sink Reflections) on how to keep your home organized, but I didn’t keep up with it (my house could be cleaner…).  This week, I came across a website of FlyLady teachers.  I joined the group and downloaded a copy of the School Control Journal.  It teaches you step by step how to organize your classroom while still keeping up with your homemaking.

The first lesson said to have a timer at home and at school.  I bought one for school (at home I use the timer on my microwave) and tried it out in my home office.  The lesson said to set the timer for 15 minutes and work on your desk first (home or school).  Since my home desk was a disaster, I gave it a try.

I couldn’t believe how my desk looked afterwards.  That let to the next pile, and the next pile, and so forth, until I had gone through and organized all of the things for my classroom.  I put materials for each lesson in separate bags/folders, grouped books that would be in the same categories, etc.

 

Of course, my desk didn’t stay neat and organized forever, but at least it’s cleaner (for now)!

After this, I went to my classroom (my sweet husband carried everything upstairs for me), where I proceeded to take everything out of the inside of my cabinets, as well as everything that I had piled on top of them in early June.  I now have a table of mess that needs to be organized, a table of science items, one of teacher books, one of social studies and language arts items, and two tables of baskets, boxes, etc.  At least it’s organized on tables by type of item!

This week, I plan to organize everything in my classroom!  I have 2 cabinets, and one will be entirely for science materials.  I have several rolling storage carts/chests, which I’ll use for math manipulatives, measurement tools, and other math items.  The other cabinet will be for language arts and social studies items.  I’m determined to be more organized!  I’ll continue to use the FlyLady classroom organization lessons to help.  Here’s to organization!

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Why is it that I can’t do daily jogs for a week without getting injured?  Arghhhh!!!!

Last fall, I tried jogging daily (or every few days) for a week, but I had to stop due to a back injury.  I admit that I tried to go too far and too fast, but I’ve changed my ways!  This week, I only did 4 miles and at only 1 mile per day!  Last night, I had some soreness in my shin and calf (right leg).  I took flax oil and used a heat pad.

Today, my left foot was hurting.  As I told my husband when he noticed me limping, “My foot isn’t working.”  At times throughout today, my foot would give me pain signals when I walked on it, specifically when I had to bend it (as you walk, your heel comes off the ground, thus your foot “bends”).  I took ibuprofin and tried to stay off it this evening, so I hope that it will be better tomorrow (or the day after).

I doubt that I will be doing any jogging tomorrow, but I might get on my bike a bit.  It was torture not being able to exercise (says the lady who was incredibly lazy the week before…).  It’s always when you want to exercise that you cannot!

My concern about my foot is that 2 years ago, it got stepped on twice at a wedding, and I wasn’t able to walk on it well for a few days, and I had to hold off on training (and cancel a scheduled race) for a while as well.  It’s the same foot, but I think (I hope) that the pain is in a slightly different spot on my foot.

Anyways, here’s hoping that my foot recovers and that I will be motivated to get back to jogging (I don’t want to be lazy again, even though it’s difficult to jog a simple mile!).

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I recently bought a serger.  I’m so glad that I did!  I want to say a special thanks to Amber and Raphaelle, who patiently taught me everything there is to know about sergers, so that I could make an informed decision.  (Click on each picture to see a bigger image.)

My new serger

My new serger

Using the serger for the first time - I was fixing the fraying edges on some shirts that I had made with my sewing machine

Using the serger for the first time - I was fixing the fraying edges on some shirts that I had made with my sewing machine

This is before it went through the serger

This is before it went through the serger

This is after it went through the serger

This is after it went through the serger

Here you can see the before and after using the serger

Here you can see the before and after using the serger

sewing machine on the left and serger on the right

Before and after: sewing machine on the left and serger on the right

For more crafty ideas, see Sew Crafty Friday at Waiting for Him.

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Crazy and Hungry

It’s 2:30 and I’m starting to get that crazy, hungry feeling.  You know, where you growl at everyone and contemplate dinner, but you don’t even want to put forth the effort to prepare that.  Plus, you know you need to eat a snack, but you can’t decide or put forth the effort to get out of your chair and fix one…

I’m going to publish this post, march myself to the kitchen, and get a snack, even if it’s just graham crackers and milk…

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Three Days of Jogging

I’ve jogged 3 days in a row now.  It’s been about a mile each day at a 14:30 pace.  I know that’s slow, but I’m a slow jogger.  At least I’ve done some exercising.

In regards to healthy eating, I’ve been doing well until just after lunch.  Once 1 PM hits, I’m done for.  I get hungry, am most often away from home and out of the food I’ve brought with me, and at the mercy of what I can find.  Yesterday ended up being carrots, grapes, and cookies for a snack (provided at a teacher workshop).  We were going to a restaurant for dinner (late), so I ate half a tub of popcorn at a movie we went to to pass the time until dinner.  It’s not fun to have my eating habits so messed up.

My goals for today are to organize the giant mess in my home office.  I’ve piled everything for my classroom in here, and it looks much worse than the picture I posted a few days ago.  Luckily, I believe that I can get into my classroom to get started on it a bit.

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I admit that I have times where I am super-dedicated to exercise and nutrition, while at other times I’m quite lazy and in love with chocolate.  Right now, I’m trying to get out of the chocolate faze, but it’s difficult.  Just last night, I finished off too many chocolate chip cookies at once and had quite the stomachache!

A few weeks ago, I tried a new jogging program.  It had me jogging 2 miles, 3 times a week.  It also specified the speed.  It drove me crazy, because it was slower than I normally felt like jogging on the treadmill, however, my body seemed to handle it okay.  Of course, I hated that I had to sit there and jog so long.  Obviously, I’m not a keen long-distance runner right now!

Yesterday, I tried jogging just one mile on the treadmill, at the prescribed speed.  It was fine.  It was okay.  I survived.  Thus, I’m going to attempt it again today.  We’ll see how I do, but I think that starting with infant steps is much more doable than the baby steps of the previous program.  Of course, I keep telling myself that if there was a 5K out there this morning, then I could get up and do it, cookie body and all!

My goals are to run on a regular basis, be motivated to run on a regular basis, increase my endurance and speed – so that I can run longer distances at a faster pace, lose the cookie weight, and get myself geared up (very motivated) to register and complete another triathlon this season.

Thus, I’m off to the treadmill…for one mile…at a slow speed that people could probably pass me at while walking…to work off all of the cookies I ate yesterday (although I ate well the rest of the day)…

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Last year, I purchased 2 dorm chairs from JoAnn’s (turquoise chair on right of picture) for my classroom.  Not only did they survive the entire year, but the kids loved them.  We used the chairs for the classroom library, read alouds, centers, and even at students’ desks.  What’s great is that they’re big enough to fit at least 2-3 kids.

I’ve been keeping an eye on JoAnn’s for over a year.  This week, I finally noticed the college chairs in the store ad.  Not only were they finally at the store, but they were 50% off!  On top of that, I decided to renew my JoAnn’s teacher card (they expire every year).  The first day that you use it, you get an additional 20% off your purchase.  Any time after that, you get 15% off.

Thus, I made what I feel is a wise investment.  I purchased more chairs for my classroom.  The original price was $50 for one chair.  The chairs were 50% off, so they were $25 each.  After my 20% discount, I got them for $20 each.  I think that’s a bargain!  As I was heading through the store with my shopping cart of chairs (Using folding dorm chairs will beat hauling a couch up a flight of stairs!), I passed by a girl who looked to be about the age of my students.  She gasped and looked longingly at the chairs, so I knew that I had made the right decision!

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Recently, I found myself hanging around Half Price Books, The Dollar Store, Big Lots, and the teacher store.  In fact, I found myself stopping at every Half Price inside and outside of town.  I was armed with a typed list of books and their costs on Amazon, as well as another list of materials (plastic sheep, toy cars, wooden ramps, etc.).  If I couldn’t find what I needed for the lowest price (my only claim to frugality right now) at Half Price, I got it from Amazon.  I’ve been planning my lessons (for the entire year, because I’m a crazy, organized person).

I noticed that my pile of school materials kept growing at home.  That’s when I realized that I was nesting.  It happens every summer.  I think that every teacher does it.  I can spot teachers at Half Price very easily.  They slowly walk around the children’s section, scanning every shelf with a TYPED list of books in their hands.

I was confused about the nesting at first.  I thought that only parents did it when they were expecting a child.  Then, I realized that I’m expecting at least 15 children next month.  That definitely necessitates planning and acquiring materials!  I must say that it helps to attend teacher workshops that send you home with boxes of materials!

In this picture, you see (mixed in with sewing things): books for my classroom, a calendar set, complete with pocket chart, empty cereal boxes that I’ll hot glue together to make paper trays for turning in homework (in a glance, you can see you didn’t turn their homework in), an index card box for organizing die cut bulletin board letters, and many other things!  There’s even a tupperware container with plant material and water to simulate coal formation (Can you find it?)!  Everything is still a mess, but I plan to organize it a bit before I take it to my classroom next month.

So there!  Teachers can do nesting, too!

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I jogged 2 miles again this morning.  I made sure that I got on the treadmill as soon as I woke up, so that I wouldn’t have any excuses later in the day (already showered, just ate, etc.).  I listened to Pirates of Penzance, which was the right speed for the pace that I was running.  The workout was challenging, but it was definitely a bit easier than a few days ago.  I didn’t really start keeping tabs on how much time I had left until I got to the one mile mark.  Last time, I was checking it practically the entire time.  My next jog is also two miles, which is a relief, because I thought that it would be three.

Now, I just need to focus on eating properly again.  Lately, dinners have been fried chicken, cake and ice cream, etc.  I also ate half a pan of brownies last night, so I’ve got some issues.  I think that I need to get extra veggies in (“Good luck,” I keep telling myself.).

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