Monday, July 30, 2012

Meanwhile back in the classroom...

Today was my first day back in my classroom...


The end of my summer vacation is just around the corner.

I was actually quite excited to get back into my room.  I've found a lot of cute goodies this year and brought some items from home when I moved, so I felt like my classroom was in store for a mini makeover.  I also had a lot of Pinterest and blog finds that I had printed, so I had quite a few new posters as well.

I felt like I got a pretty good amount accomplished today and plan to go back again tomorrow.  My goal is to get pretty much everything done this week and then do the last minute stuff once I get my class list.  I really like the way my room is shaping up for this year, but there's still quite a bit still left to do.

I'm crazy exhausted, so tonight is my time to sit, catch up in Google Reader, and maybe start another Pinterest project!

Maybe tomorrow I'll have some pictures to give you all a sneak peek!

Makeup & Mondays

Oh Mondays...  

I'm down to just today and next Monday where I don't have to be at work.  Seriously?  Is summer really that close to being over?!?  As excited as I am for going back to school, I do really love the laziness of summer vacation.  I was working on some things last week and realized I didn't even know what day of the week it was!  

I've also realized how I wear a lot more makeup in the summer...  Weird, yes.  BUT, it's because I typically have more time to perfect my look before going out.  During the school year I have a pretty quick, but thorough routine perfected.

I thought I'd share a few of my makeup essentials and the things that I reach for when I'm in a hurry in the morning.  These would also be the items I'd take if I were going out of town for the weekend and just wanted to take the essentials.

Not everything pictured is a complete favorite of mine, so I'll try to tell you which products are my real faves.  Some are just what I'm currently trying / using / have on hand and am trying to use up.  I use a mix of high and low end products...  I think the most expensive item I use is $30 and the least expensive is just $1.

Here's the low down:

I start out with a primer.  I never believed in primers until I tried one last spring.  As someone with oily skin, I've seen a huge difference in how my skin looks and how my makeup lasts.  (Tip:  I put on primer and then do my hair...  I don't know if it really helps, but I like to let the primer set for a few minutes before I put anything on top of it.)

Through trial and error, I've been mixing my Clinique Stay-Matte Foundation with the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream and it's actually worked really well.  I wasn't a huge fan of either product on its own, but together they're a winning combo!

For concealer, I always use something under my eyes and then touch up spots that my foundation didn't even out.  I've currently got the Clinique All About Eyes and Benefit Erase Paste (which is a mini from this set.)  I'm not gonna say the Clinique is my favorite, but this tube will last me forever so no complaints there!  I really like the Benefit one and have several of these minis, so I'm set for concealer for a while.

My next step is powder...  I go for pretty much any brand that is either on sale, helps control oil, or both. (I think my favorite brand is Physician's Formula, but my Target stopped carrying it, so I've been trying out others recently.)  This blush and bronzer duo is $3 from ELF and is really good if you're looking for a cheap and easy go-to.  (It's also an expensive dupe for the Nars Orgasm / Laguna duo.)  When I'm in a hurry, I tend to grab colors that are universally flattering.

For my eyes, I like a quick routine of primer, eye shadow, liner, and mascara.  The current primer I'm using is from ELF and for only $1 I feel like it gets the job done.  This Ulta eye shadow in Lustre is a total all-time favorite-- I'm on my second one!  It's a perfect everyday neutral and the one I reach for if I'm in a hurry.  I also like this Clinique palette that I purchased at Sephora last fall.  It's got a good range of colors and is also a good pinky neutral to reach for.  I then go for either a dark brown or black eyeliner and top off the eyes with some mascara.  (I love free gifts and sampler packs so I can try different mascaras...  I'm currently loving this one from Buxom.)

Finally, I finish off my look with some neutral lips.  I recently picked up some new neutral Revlon Lip Butters and I also love this gloss / balm from Buxom.  Neutrals are also the best to keep with you in your purse or at work.

So, my best tip for makeup on those Mondays when you're struggling to get out the door on time?  Go for universally flattering neutral products that will look good with whatever you're wearing.  I know this look may be a lot for some of you out there, but I hope that no matter what you can take some of my tips for yourself!

PS ~ In the midst of getting ready for school I didn't do links to the products online like I usually try to.  If you're interested in specific products or where I bought them, leave a comment and I can give you more info! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blog Stalking

My Google Reader is pretty ridiculous...

Like really ridiculous.


I'm over 200 subscriptions.  I mean, is that normal?!?

The blogs I follow fall into one of three categories or a mixture of teaching, fashion / style, or home decor.  I started getting into blogs a lot more last summer and remembered learning about Google Reader in one of the educational tech classes I took for my Master's.  I think it was around the beginning of fall when I started really getting into following blogs via Google Reader and it's been downhill ever since.

I don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes I run across a post or a pin on Pinterest that leads me to a new blog and I'm then faced with the decision on whether or not to follow that new blog.

Here's how I decide...

I take a look at the last 5 to 10 posts (sometimes more) and see if they are along the lines of my interests.  I also take a look at how frequently they post.  It's not like I spend tons of time doing research, but I scan of the last few posts usually gives me a pretty good idea if they're worth following or not.

I'm naturally drawn to follow blogs that I feel are practical for the person I am, be it as a teacher, decorator, or shopper.  For example, it's one thing if you have great style, but to me, your blog is wayyyy more appealing if you have great style and are budget conscious rather than someone who drops $400 a week on J.Crew new arrivals.  

My teaching blogs are a bit more scattered...  I've found a lot of these via Pinterest and linky parties.  I follow blogs of teachers of pretty much all grade levels (except probably high school).  Of course I'm naturally drawn to third grade blogs, but I've found that even kindergarten teachers have great ideas that I can use and adapt in my own classroom or pass onto friends that teach those grade levels.  

I feel like the home-y blogs I follow are similar in many ways to how I'm drawn to style blogs...  If you have a home that's my style you're a winner, but if you're doing it on a budget you're even better.  I'm totally a practical person and in all honestly I don't really care to look at homes (on blogs or in magazines) that are just spectacular and grand.  I'd rather see a home that looks like one I'd live in or would realistically live in one day.  I get a lot more out of reading posts by people that seem to live in the real world and not Fancy Schmancy Pants Land.  (Oh yes, I just said that.)

Now, here are the best ways and places I've found to discover new blogs:

Pinterest - Need I say more?

Linky Parties - Linkies are great ways to especially find newer blogs that don't yet have many followers.  You're most likely starting with some common ground if you're both participating in the party, so that's a great start.

Monthly "events" - Okay, pretty much the same things as a linky, but bear with me.  Here's an example...  I've never personally participated in Everybody | Everywhere, but I always look through the submissions and typically find at least 3 or 4 new blogs to follow.  "Currently," which is also technically a linky is another regular monthly "event" that connects me with new bloggers.

Find out who your favorite bloggers follow - A lot of bloggers will have buttons to other blogs or a list of the blogs that they follow right there on their pages.  If there's a blogger I really enjoy then I try to find who they are following since that probably means it will be along the same lines.

Clear as mud?  Good.

And now, I want to share a few of my most recent favorite subscriptions...
Happy Sunday!  Hope your weekend has been fabulous!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Budgeting Bloggers - July

I'm linking up with Frannish again for Budgeting Bloggers!  Now that it's the end of July we're evaluating out July budgets and how we spent out money this month.  

I started out July determined to not spend any extra money because I was hoping to go out of town at the end of the month before school started.  That didn't really end up working out, so I allowed myself a little shopping in town after all.  I didn't spend near as much as I had budgeted if I had gone out of town, so I still have some of that money set aside for a future trip.  But, with school coming up and sales in full force, I decided it was okay to get a few goodies and essentials without going too crazy.

My first purchase was this dress from Banana Republic.  It's pretty much a long t-shirt and I totally have the 3/4 sleeved version from the spring.  It was kind of an impulse buy the night before I had to attend a rehearsal dinner and another wedding reception, but I'm super happy that this was what I found.  It's super versatile, comfy, and has already gotten a good amount of wear.  I was also able to get it with 2 coupons making the impulse less guilt-ridden.

A Few Recent Buys

I wandered into Old Navy the other day and found this dress.  I love the colors (and how many different cardigans I can wear with it) and it totally reminds me of a paisley print that J.Crew carried a while back.  I ended up returning it and rebuying it online the next day and saved $8!  Yay!  I'm thinking this is going to be my dress for our open house a school in a couple weeks.  

Finally, I hit American Eagle's jeans sale!  I'm a pretty hard-core fan of AE jeans and they're super affordable.  (I honestly can't imagine dropping $100 or more for jeans.)  I tried a couple styles, but I went back to my tried-and-true Favorite Boyfriends.  I also got the Pleated Chiffon Blouse in black and hit the clearance jewelry which was 3 for $10.  I also had a $10 off coupon, so in all I ended up with a pair of jeans, a shirt, 2 necklaces, and a pair of earrings for just over $60.  Not too bad, in my opinion.  

My makeup and beauty purchases were pretty limited this month, but I did pick up 3 items before my friend's wedding.  I picked up some L'Oreal False Fiber Lashes waterproof mascara, a sample size of the Urban Decay De Slick Makeup Setting Spray, and the  ELF blush and bronzer duo (that's frequently compared to the Orgasm / Laguna duo from Nars).  In all, about $20, but it was great to have these on hand to share when we were getting ready for the wedding.

I did break my no nail polish goal and picked up 2 from Sally Beauty.  With a coupon and Beauty Club discount, I got 2 China Glaze polishes for less than $5!  Wayyyyyyy cheaper than Ulta!  I didn't break the bank, so I think it's okay, but now it's back to no new nail polish 'til the fall!

And my August budget?  Well, since I don't have any income 'til September, my August budget is going to be quite slim.  (I prefer to end the summer with money in savings, ya know?)  I'm pretty well stocked up on everything, so my goal is not to really buy any unnecessary items.  I'm nearing 300 points in the Birchbox store, so I'm thinking when I reach that point I'll get some fun makeup items from there.  I also reached 500 points at Sephora, so I'm due for my gift from there whenever.    I always like getting new stuff if it's free, so that will probably satisfy a craving to get new goodies!  I know there will be some items I'll want once fall rolls around, so now is a pretty good time to take a little break and focus on the beginning of the school year.

Alright, now it's your turn to link up and share how you did with your July budget!  Click here to head over and see how other bloggers shopping within their July budgets! 

More School Shopping

I showed off my Target goods the other day, but promised I'd share the rest of my school shopping finds as soon as my Mardel order arrived.  I've done a pretty good job of staying within my budget and I still have my $35 Wal-Mart gift card to use for classroom supplies as well.  Other than nametags, I'm pretty much good to go (or at least I think I am)!  I know that a few little things will pop up when I get back into my classroom next week, but my school usually has a Wal-Mart list running for random supplies that teachers need.  At least for now, I think I'm done with the majority of my shopping.

I'm such a sucker for the Poppin' Patterns collection from Creative Teaching Press.  It's my non-theme theme (more on that in a later post).  I love all of the colors and that it's so mix and match.  I'm not entirely sure what all I'm going to end up doing with everything, but I figured with 20% at both stores I shopped I was okay to go on and grab things now.  I'm eager to get into my classroom and start adding these things to my already extensive collection!  Here's the whole Poppin' Patterns collection online.

Okay, left to right:

There are several things I hoard for my classroom...  Dollar Tree's word strips are one of those things.  It doesn't matter that I have an entire plastic box full of them already sitting in my classroom...  I seriously buy more almost every trip there AND ask for them for Christmas!  

Another Dollar Tree find was this parts of speech set.  I've used a poster for the parts of speech the past few years, but it's so small that it's hard to use it for teaching purposes.  I honestly couldn't remember if I already had a bigger parts of speech set (I know I have a similar one for punctuation), so I went on and grabbed this one since it'll be wayyyyy better for the kids to see and since it was only $1.  I hate that my wall space is so limited, but I'm just going to have to find a place for this!  

I also found some math cards and black dot calendar pieces.  Neither of these were real needs, but let's just face it, I was in a spending mood and I know both will get used.  I know the math cards will definitely come in handy when I'm doing after school tutoring!

And finally, my super cute t-shirt from Mardel!  It reads "Teachers Give a Hoot!"  I'm not a huge owl fan, but for some reason I thought this one was adorable and I'm always a fan of having extra t-shirts to wear on Fridays.  

Even if you missed Mardel's 20% off sale last week, they still have a bunch of items on special and is worth checking out.

Well, other than whatever I end up with getting with my Wal-Mart gift card, that will probably be the extent of my school shopping for now.  There are a few books I'd like to track down, but nothing too urgent right now! 

I plan to start working on my classroom next week, so I'll be sure to take plenty of pics of how things come together!  I think this is one of my favorite things about the beginning of the school year!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fashion Friday: Hot Weather Work Clothes

I'm not really a fan of summer...  I don't like hot weather and I don't like feeling sweaty and stinky all the time.  I swear I take more showers and change clothes more in the summer than any other time of year.  

One advantage to not working during the summer is that I don't have to worry as much about having hot weather work clothes.  I really hate having to dress for school when it's super hot outside. 

Here's why...

First, with the exception of this past spring when my A/C was out, my classroom is super cold when the air is on.  If I don't have it all the way down it get's super stuffy and warm.  There seems to be no happy medium.  I have to tell the kids early on to bring hoodies.  It can be blastingly hot outside and be frigid inside.  So, most of the time I dress to deal with the cold inside, but every third day I have afternoon recess duty and every few weeks I have bus duty outside in the afternoon.  On those days I feel like I have to dress for two polar opposite climates.  The other problem is that a lot of warm weather clothes aren't totally appropriate to wear to school.  I layer a lot and my school isn't super super strict on the dress code as long as we look nice, but it can still be hard to find things that are cool and modest at the same time.

Comfy Hot Weather Work Clothes

So, here are some things I like for hot weather outfits.  I know that for some schools not all of this would fly, but it works for me.  Make sure you know what the dress code is at your school and keep your look professional.

  • Dress in lightweight layers - I have two tips for layering...  First, use layering to make some of your more immodest summer clothes more modest.  Just simply adding a tee or tank under another top or dress can make it appropriate.  Second, if you wear thicker layers (like cardigans or jackets) remember that you may want to keep your second layer modest so that if you get too warm you have the freedom to take it off.  
  • Dress up your basics - A solid colored tee and some basic cropped dress pants might be comfy, but it's kind of a dull outfit.  Pull your look together with accessories like a statement necklace, a fun colored belt, or a warm weather scarf.  If you need to be outside where it's hot, the scarf is an easy layer to remove!  I'm also a fan of spicing things up with cute sandals or flats...  Just make sure they're comfy enough to wear all day!
  • Knits are your friend - I love a nice knit dress this time of year, if fact, I could probably live in them.  This totally goes with the two tips above...  They're great for layering and great for dressing up with accessories.  It's not like my job is dirty or anything (most of the time, LOL), but I also love the convenience of wash and wear clothes.  I hate having to dry clean items and don't like to wear really fussy things to work.  I don't dress like I did back in the days when I had an office job!  Look for knits that aren't super thin, that fit your body, and that aren't sloppy looking.  One item I'm hoping to snag before school starts is a basic black knit maxi skirt.  It's easy to wear and would be a great transition piece into fall!
Here are a few online picks for hot weather work clothes:

Banana Republic Cap-Sleeve Tee Dress - I bought this dress on a whim last week to wear for the wedding rehearsal dinner and another reception the same night.  It's basically a long t-shirt, but the fit is great both belted and unbelted.  I have to totally admit I have pretty much same dress with 3/4 sleeves from earlier this year, but with the 2 coupons I was able to combine I really couldn't leave it behind.  It's seriously one of those items I could wear everyday.  (And have had to resist the urge to do so!)

Banana Republic Striped Back-Zip Top - This is a little dressier, but very similar to a sleeveless top I got from Loft back in February.  This would be perfect with some cropped pants and a cardigan!

Old Navy Knit Tops - Old Navy is great for inexpensive basics.  They've got a whole slew of cute knits that are perfect for layering with cardigans or denim jackets.

Gap Mercer V-Neck Tee - These are a new fave of mine.  They're the perfect weight, come in tons of fun colors, and are actually not so super low that I have to wear a tank underneath.

J.Crew Vintage Cotton Tee - I don't have any of these tees, but I do have one of the tanks and they're a really nice weight for layering.  I love all of the fun colors and the possibilities you can have with accessories!

Forever 21 Floral Pompom Trimmed Scarf - How cute is this?!?  It's got the light colors to make it a little summer-y, but also the black to keep it grounded.  I'm super tempted to track this one down!

Forever 21 Sheer Striped Scarf - This one is super lightweight and basic, but would be great paired with a nice knit tee and some crops.

And finally, some PINSPIRATIONS!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top Ten Teacher's Desk Essentials

I don't spend a ton of time at my desk throughout the day, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be easily converted into one of those teachers who gives up having a desk altogether.  I need my own space for my stuff (and a space where the kids aren't necessarily allowed to venture).  I cleaned out my desk right before school ended and realized I have a lot of essentials that I like to keep handy for myself and that I find myself reaching for throughout the day.  I wanted to share a few of these things...  I think it's always a great idea to gift practical items to teachers (particularly new ones)!
Post it Pop up Note Dispenser

  1. Post-its, Post-its, Post-its!  I grab these multiple times per day and have to have a variety of sizes on hand at all times.  I got this super cute purse from one of my students last year and absolutely love it!  Not only is it adorable, but also very practical as well!
  2. A cute water bottle.  I have quite the collection of water bottles (I keep getting them as gifts), but I do really enjoy my pink K-State Nalgene bottle and another cute purple sweat-proof bottle.  I also always have a nice stock of Crystal Light or Mio on hand to add some flavor.  
  3. Teacher-only hand sanitizer.  I teach, therefore I hoard hand sanitizers.  At last count I had 27 Pocket Bacs and other good smelling hand sanitizers in my drawer at home.  I like to keep at least one bottle on hand at school that is just for me.  I have a really cute apple-shaped one from Bath & Body Works that is just for me!  It smells good and the kids can't get their germy hands on it!
  4. Colorful pens!  This should be a given, but I usually let myself get a new set or two of nice pens for grading (and other random stuff) during the back to school sales.  
  5. A beauty bag...  Or bucket...  Or both!  It's not like I sit and primp myself all day long, but it's a good idea to keep some essentials on hand.  I have a cute little metal bucket that holds a small hand lotion, body spray, and lip gloss that I can grab whenever during the day.  My new addiction to Revlon's Lip Butters will definitely ensure one of those neutral shades makes its way into my bucket.  I also keep a bag with a toothbrush and mini toothpaste (great for conferences), extra "girl products," and a mini deodorant.  You never know when you'll need some of those things or if you want to freshen up after school and don't have the chance to go home first!
  6. Some personal touches.  I love having pictures of friends and family at school and I think it's a good way for kids to remember that you're also a "real person" and not just a teacher!  I also show off my love for my Wildcats and have plenty of K-State decor in my little area of the room!
  7. Small snacks.  Depending on my schedule, I usually like to have a small snack around the middle of the morning.  I try to keep small, healthy(ish) snacks on hand like Special K bars or 100 calorie packs.  I'm horrible about eating breakfast, so this keeps me going until lunchtime.
  8. A rainbow of Sharpies.  I have an entire bucket full of colorful Sharpies and I use them all the time.  This time of year is a great time to snag big packets at really great prices!
  9. Some sort of organizational system.  This is a little vague, because what works for you may not necessarily work for me.  I like having the essentials on hand...  For example, I have my paperclips in a bucket on my desk because at least 10 times a day my students or I are reaching for one.  Other stuff can go in the drawers because I don't use them as often.  You just have to figure out what works for you.
  10. Pain relievers.  No joke.  No matter how much you love your job, there are going to be days when you feel like crap.  A bottle of ibuprofen is a must for me.  You never know when you're going to get struck with a headache or whatever.  This has been a lifesaver on multiple occasions!
What are your teacher's desk essentials?  I'd love to hear what your must haves are!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to School Open House

Each year, my school holds an open house the evening before school starts.  It's a come-and-go event, so there's no formal meeting or presentation.  The hour totally zips by!  In preparing for the new school year, I thought I'd share my tips for hosting an open house and give you an overview of what you find in my classroom!

Ready for Open House!
  • Greet everyone!  It's completely overwhelming meeting all of the students and parents AND having past students and parents popping in to say hello!  It's sometimes hard to make sure I greet everyone, but I really do try to make my very best effort to greet everyone that steps into my classroom.  I even try to introduce myself to the siblings that come in as well.  You never know when it's going to help that you know that older brother in 5th grade or that little sister in kindergarten!
  • Give them your best first impression.  I'm not a parent, but in going to open house at my brother's school I see how first impressions of a teacher make a big impact.  Make sure your classroom is put together and that you are dressed to impress.  I think this has helped me gain the respect of my students' parents, especially being a younger teacher.  
  • Make sure the kids know they belong in your classroom.  I mean this in several ways...  Kids are always a little nervous about starting school and being in a new classroom, so I try to have everything ready with the kids names on it.  It's just one little way that I can show them that they're a part of our classroom.  
  • Ask for help.  Open house is a great time to recruit parent volunteers or other helpers.  I try to have some sort of display asking for extra supplies for the classroom.  You may also consider having a signup sheet for parents to get names of those who would be willing to help with parties, projects, or field trips.  Our room parents coordinate most of our parties, but it's still nice to have a go-to list for other events.  
  • Show off the fun you had last year!  I try to make a Photo Story of pictures from the previous school year and have it playing during the open house.  The kids from the previous year love coming in and seeing all of the pictures and the new kids love seeing what kinds of things we do in third grade.  (Photo Story is super easy to use and I'm pretty sure it's a free download on the Microsoft website.  I can usually hammer out a Photo Story in only 10 minutes if I'm really in a hurry!)  If you're not tech savvy, you could also create a Power Point or just have photos out for everyone to look at.
  • Have a parent packet ready.  I have a pretty extensive classroom handbook that covers all of our routines and procedures.  It basically explains how I run things and what to expect this year.  I have a sheet for the parents to fill out about their child and then I have them sign the sheet saying that they've read through the packet.  I know of some teachers that have had to go back and show proof they notified parents of a policy or procedure, so this is always a good idea.  
Like I said, the hour zips by super fast!  There are always those parents that want to tell you all about their child and give you their life story.  Just do your best to make the rounds and meet everyone and let them know how you can be contacted.  It's important to open up communication from the very start and make a great first impression!

Do you have any tips, hints, or suggestions for hosting an open house in your classroom?  I'd love to get some new ideas and hear how the rest of you run your open house!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell Me More {Linky Party}

Mrs. Lemons over at Step Into 2nd Grade is hosting a fun "Tell Me More" linky party where other teacher bloggers share some fun things about themselves!  I've enjoyed browsing through some of the other links over there and decided to share some of my own fun, random facts!

My all-time favorite movie is "Back to the Future."  
I've been obsessed with this movie (particularly the first one) since I was about 5 years old.  I was in afternoon kindergarten and watched my video of it almost every morning before I went to school.  The cassette tape soundtrack was pretty much the only tape I listened to when I was a kid and was one of the first CDs I ever bought.  (As a result I'm a HUGE Huey Lewis & the News fan!)  I got my first DVD player when it was first released on DVD back in high school and I bought my first BluRay player last year right after its BluRay release.  It's just one of those movies I will never, ever get tired of!  

I have major closet OCD.  
Some people color coordinate their clothes...  I don't.  Mine are meticulously organized by type (tees, tanks, sweaters, long sleeve, short sleeve, etc.) and then by store and how new they are.  It also goes in order from the stores I own the most from to the least.  It was an entire evening event organizing my closet after my move.  But, when I want my pink short-sleeve Gap tee from last year, I know exactly where to find it!

I'm addicted to Pottery Barn bedding.
I think I have 5 or 6 sets of bedding from Pottery Barn, plus a couple quilts and only one bed!  (This has been spread out since college, though, and I did sell one set in my garage sale!)  I love their patterns and quality, so their duvets and shams are my big splurge for my home.  It's probably a good thing there isn't a PB in town otherwise I'd be living in a cardboard box surrounded by my lovely home decor!

I've only owned 2 cars.
I was that spoiled 16 year old who got a brand new car from Daddy when I started driving.  It wasn't anything fancy by any means (no power windows!), but my little Saturn SL1 was a pretty great car to get me through high school, college, and the first few years of my career.  I decided since I only get a car every 10 years (at my current rate), I could treat myself to another brand new car last year.  Once again, nothing super fancy, but I do love my Nissan Sentra and the fact that it was my first big girl purchase.  I'm scheduled for another new car in 2021, but something tells me that if kids happen to come along between now and then (which I really hope so!), I may have to break down and get something else before then!

I was in a TV commercial when I was in kindergarten.
A family friend was running for the local school board and recruited me to be in his ad campaign with a few other candidates.  I don't remember a whole lot about it, but I do recall all the teachers at my school making a big deal about how I was the cute little girl in the commercial.  I must have done a pretty great job because they won!

I've never been west of Colorado.
Traveling is something I love to do, but I've just not been to that many places.  I feel like I go to Colorado all the time, but I've never been any further west of  the Rockies.  I've been a couple places east like NY and Orlando, but I haven't seen much of that part of the country either.  I'm hoping to make it to Washington next year to visit a friend and finally make further west than Colorado!

I'm a total K-State addict!
This one probably isn't anything new if you've been following me for a while.  Growing up, my family was never really hard core for any team...  Just whoever was from Kansas.  I totally bleed purple now and one of my goals each school year is to convert as many of my students into K-State fans as possible! 

I used to be a HUGE Hanson fan!
They're probably the only band / celebrities I've ever been completely obsessed with.  I used to have their pics all over my bedroom and had a video that stayed next to the VCR for whenever they were on TV.  My friends and I would get together and swoon over my notebook of photos I found online.  (I was super cool to have that since internet was just becoming a trend and my mom worked at Xerox so I could print everything in fancy color!)  I've been meaning to download their "Middle of Nowhere" album to my iPod since my beloved CD has gone missing.  Since everyone knows "MmmBop" I wanted to share my personal fave.  

My mom's dog hates me...  And I hate her back.
They got the dog one weekend when I was away on a church trip and I'm pretty sure that got us off on the wrong foot (or paw).  She really, truly hates me and thinks I'm a threat.  The vet said it's sibling rivalry, but she gets along just fine with my brother.  Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, just not that one.  She starts barking at me whenever  I go to their house or even when I pull up to pick up my brother.  All my mom has to say is, "You sister's here!" and the dog runs to the door barking.  It's only been like 12 years of this...

I still love TV shows for teens!
I keep wondering when I'll grow out of loving teen shows, but it hasn't happened yet.  My two current addictions are "Degrassi" and "Awkward", but there are a few others I enjoy as well. I'm pretty sure I watch almost as much MTV as I did was 10 years ago when I was a teenager!  I guess there's just part of me that just doesn't want to completely grow up!

So, there are some things about me!  Check out the Tell Me More, Tell Me More linky party over at Step Into 2nd Grade...  This party is crazy huge and I've discovered quite a few awesome new blogs as a result!

I Love the 80's!

It's no secret that I absolutely, positively love the 80's.  I wasn't born until 1985, so honestly my memories of the 80's are limited, but it's still my favorite decade for movies, music, and TV shows.  Maybe my love for the 80's is also a factor in my love for neons this spring and summer...  I play 80's music in my classroom every now and then just for fun.  I had a parent comment to me once that she thought it was funny her daughter came home singing "Walk Like an Egyptian."  Ha ha!

A friend on Facebook posted last night that it seems like all of the school supply commercials this year are 80's themed...  I'd only noticed this commercial from Target up to that point spoofing Cameo's song "Word Up."  (Yes, "Word Up" is on my iPod!)

"Music Teacher"

And now the "English Teacher"

I totally love the "notebooks and tees" part!  LOL

Don't forget the "Science Teacher"

And it's not just Target...

Okay, this one isn't necessarily a back to school commercial, but it's definitely a throwback with Jordan Knight (NKOTB)!

And finally...  This song was in a commercial for one of the office supply stores, but I can't remember which one and couldn't find the commercial on You Tube.  Forgive me for only giving you the real video...  Oh Depeche Mode, you gave us such great New Wave music.  

So there's your 80's fix for the day!  I just got my Mardel order from UPS (Brown Santa!) a few minutes ago, so I hope to finish up my school shopping posts today or tomorrow!  Yay for new goodies!

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Teacher Story {Linky Party}

Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes is hosting a fun linky party right now where people are sharing how they became a teacher.  I thought this was a fun one since I know a lot of people who didn't know from the start that they wanted to be teachers.  It's super interesting to me to hear about other people's journeys to this career, so I thought I'd join in and share my story.

I've been much known since I was in first or second grade that I wanted to be a teacher.  I had wonderful teachers all through elementary school and I think that was a huge factor in my desire to become a teacher as well.  I had teachers that were young, old, and somewhere in between, but they all seemed to love what they did and they make learning fun for their students as well.

Meanwhile, my aunt was in college working to become a teacher as well.  She would come in to volunteer in my classroom in kindergarten and I always looked up to her.  She started teaching full-time when I was in fourth grade and pretty much from the start I was helping her in her classroom during the summer and on the weekends.  I learned very quickly how much extra work teachers have to do to make their classrooms run, but for some reason that didn't scare me away.  She taught in a private school and their schedule was different than ours, so I loved getting to go in and help with her students when I had days off.  

Fast forward to my college years...  I was totally one of those people that started college ready to jump right into my major of elementary education.  I think I was the only one of my friends that knew what I wanted to do and actually stuck with it the whole way through. I had placements in kindergarten (so totally not for me), 5th grade (eh...), and worked at a preschool and daycare (so cute, but so needy).  I'd never had any formal experience in third grade, but for some reason I felt like that was going to be a grade level and age that I'd really enjoy.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to student teach in third grade and instantly fell in love with that group of kids.  

I was very blessed to be looking for a teaching job at a time before budget cuts were a huge concern.  I was given an invitation to apply for jobs at the school I was student teaching at since another school would be reopening the next year and they had a position open in almost every grade level.  I would have loved working there, but I really wanted to move back home near my family and friends.  I just didn't think I would be happy still living in a college town and not be a college student.  The whole process of finding a job was very quick and easy for me.  Things fell into place very quickly and I was blessed to have a job lined up by about the beginning of April.  It was such a good feeling to be able to graduate and know that I had my ideal teaching position waiting for me in the fall!

So, after completing five years (!) at the same school, in the same classroom, and in the same grade level I consider myself to be very blessed.  I work with wonderful people and have had a lot of opportunities to take on some leadership positions in my building.  I never imagined getting a Master's degree back when I was in college, but I decided to go on and pursue that and finished it several years ago.

What's next?!?  Who knows!  I love my current position and plan to stay in it as long as possible.  I don't know what changes my personal life will bring in the next few years...  Hopefully getting married and having kids at some point!  I'm not sure I want to be a full-time teacher, wife, and mom, but at the same time I think I'd probably be the world's worst stay at home mom.  (I'd lay around in sweats all day watching TV reading blogs and pinning things on Pinterest, occasionally attending to my children...  LOL)  I'm considering pursuing a Reading Specialist endorsement or something that might open open up more job possibilities other than being a regular classroom teacher (maybe a little less outside time and work?).  Like I said, who knows what the future will hold, but that seems to be the idea I've cooked up in my head.  

Alright, now it's your turn to share your teacher story and tell us about your journey to becoming a teacher!  Click on the picture above or here to read everyone's stories and link up!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Oh Target, You Got Me Again!

To say I'm a Target addict is a complete understatement...  If I had to shop at only one store for the rest of my life, I'd say Target would definitely be my store.  

I started seeing posts about school stuff in the dollar / bargain section of Target last week, so I pretty much went there immediately to do my damage.  Altogether, I've spent right around $50, so about half of the money I will get back from our PTA.  (More on my other school shopping later this week!)  My goal is to stick as close to that $100 as possible this year and not spend more than about $25 or $50 of my own money.  I also have a $35 Wal-Mart gift card I received for doing a student survey thing, so I'm contemplating using that on some new decorations for my classroom.  I hate Wal-Mart and try to avoid going there at all costs, but I will admit they do get some cute things this time of year!

Okay, onto my goodies...

I was pretty pumped to find so many fun purple items!  The plastic storage (6 total) were $2.50 each,  but oddly enough I went back this week to 2 other Targets and they were $3!  I don't know what's up with the price difference / increase, but I'm glad I got these when they were only $2.50.  (I grabbed my 25 original book bins when they were only $1 each back about 5 years ago!)  I made another trip back yesterday when I heard that they had purple pocket charts.  I knew it was a longshot since I hadn't seen them at the other 3 Targets in town, but there they were...  Just waiting for me to give them a home in my classroom!  Yay!  There are several things I seem to hoard for school and these $1 pocket charts are one of them.  I swear I have pretty much every color ever.  

I also picked up 4 new non-fiction books for $1 each.  I use these almost weekly for mini-book reports in our research work station.  I try to pick up these books whenever new ones come out.  There are almost always new books in their dollar section, not just during back to school time.  For 3rd grade, I usually go for the Level 2 and Level 3 books.  

I didn't really need notepads and notecards, but these were too cute to pass up.  I love having cute notecards to write notes to the kids on and I'm a huge fan of the Muppets, so of course I had to grab a couple packets of those.  And the little cassette tape sticky notes!?!  Love those!  

My biggest purchases were Dr. Suess items.  I went a little bit crazy with those!  We always team up our assessment kickoff with Dr. Seuss week, so I like to stock up on these goodies when I can and save them for when we start assessments.  (You can read more about my assessment goodies here.)  I ended up getting class sets of award certificates, pencils, erasers, stickers, and bookmarks.  They had some other cute Dr. Seuss items like bags and silly bands, but I decided this was plenty for right now.  The school usually provides other assessment treats, so I think my kids will be well take care of when testing season arrives next spring!

Have you found any other goodies are Target? Please share if you've found any of your own Target treasures!