family · life

One crazy week

The weekend is here. This past week was CRAZY around here. It was my first full week of teaching. My class this year has 13 children. Let me tell you compared to the crew I had last year, who I enjoyed, this years crew is a lot calmer and excited to work. I do believe part of this is a numbers game. The more students you have, the more they feel they need to do to get your attention. This means children who struggle with self control are doing a lot more attention seeking actions. Children who are struggling with picking up on the academic skills need more help because they are distracted during the learning because they feel they are a step behind. I’m excited to see what fun things I can do with my students this year.

On the home front, Richard was traveling this past week. He left for San Francisco on Sunday. His flight was delayed twice. He returned yesterday and we were all happy to have him back home.

Blake’s school had a bomb threat on Monday. Some kid wrote the threat on the bathroom wall. They had to be evacuated to the HS, which is on the same campus. They were back in the building and learning in about an hour. Then on Wednesday there was a cyber threat made on the whole campus and they closed both the middle school and the high school for the day. Blake was furious at this disruption and was especially upset that this threat was made on 9/11. He saw this as disrespectful to those who lost their lives on that day. I love how much he loves school and the country. I love that he sees that this type of behavior is stupid and understands that most of it is attention seeking.

Both the boys had dentist appointments on Wednesday and I had one on Thursday.

Thursday afternoon I got a text from my neighbor telling me that Dixie had caught a groundhog in our backyard. Dumb groundhog! The dog is out on a run in the backyard and is out all the time. I don’t know why it got so close to her as they usually scurry away. But, this meant that I had to deal with the groundhog. Ugh.

Oh well… Richard is back home now. Today we are having a quiet morning and then we will watch the UCF football game and have pulled pork nachos for dinner. I need to go get out my crockpot and start the pulled pork.

I hope you had a great week and Friday the 13th with a full moon didn’t disturb your life too much.

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Education · PreK class · through my camera lens

PreK color week

This year I am going to add more education to my blog. Yes, I know that not everyone who reads my blog is a teacher, or mom or into kid things, but at the same time it is a part of who I am. I’m not saying I’ll post things weekly, but I will share more the things I do in my classroom.

The month of September’s theme is Changes. This is the first full week and we are learning about colors. Our work stations this week were:

art table– Mix It Up Art project. We watched the story Mix it Up on YouTube on Monday. In the story they do magic to make a hand appear on a page that is covered in finger prints. I told the children they could either put their fingerprints inside or outside the outline of their hand. We gave each child a paint pallet with red, yellow, blue, white and black and let them use however they wished. I like this concept because they can mix it without upsetting other children or making it so another child couldn’t use the paint too.

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Theme table- The children each took a coffee filter and drew a design on one half of the filter with markers. They then folded the filter twice and then sprayed the filter with water to let the colors spread and mix. No photo description available.

Writing table– I wrote each child’s name out on a long sheet of paper. The children used bingo daubers to cover the letters of their name to practice spelling their name. We are focusing on writing their names so it starts with a capital and the rest are lowercase letters.

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Math area- I put out a bin of mini erasers and had the children sort the erasers by color. They had to grab a handful of the erasers. They put the erasers into brown paper bags that are labeled with color words.

We also did a few whole group activities:

Melting ice cubes. I colored water red, blue and yellow and froze them into ice cubes. We observed the cubes melting in cups that we set up as red+ yellow, red + blue, blue + yellow and red+blue+yellow.

We did a STEAM experiment where the children again used coffee filters. They only used one color this time. We used secondary and tertiary colors. With this project, you color around the circle that is formed at the edge of the ridges of the filter (not on the flat part). You want to make it a thick line. Then fold the filter three times to make it a small cone shape. dip the tip of the cone into water and let it wick up to the color line. The colors will separate to show the colors that mix up to make the secondary and tertiary colors.

We also did a favorite color graph.

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We are finishing the week tomorrow by baking sugar cookies. We have three cans of vanilla frosting that we will color yellow, red and blue. The children will get a little of each color and be able to mix them and frost their cookies in the frosting color(s) they choose to use/create.

family · food · reviews · through my camera lens

Alton Brown’s Chicken Parm

If you follow me on I/G, you may have noticed that I’ve started playing “What am I making for dinner” as my I/G story from time to time.

This recipe was shared on there, and yes there were a LOT more pictures on my I/G story, but I took a few to share on here too.

Richard and I are HUGE Alton Brown fans. We have seen him live twice, watch him on YouTube and his tv shows. I also follow him in I/G and Facebook, oh and have one of his cookbooks that I use all the time. When he announced that he was re-launching Good Eats, we knew we’d be watching and making more of his recipes.

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The first episode was Chicken Parm. Who doesn’t love a GOOD chicken parm? Don’t get me wrong there are some really bad or just ok chicken parms out there, but I love a good chicken parm. So we decided this would be a good one to try… so we did!

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  • 2  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded to 1/8-inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 120 grams (1 cup) plain breadcrumbs
  • 20 grams salt and vinegar potato chips, not kettle cooked or thick cut
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 70 grams (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour (I needed more)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup red sauce, divided, recipe follows
  • 2 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 ounces Italian fontina, shredded
  • 2 ounces of Parmesan, shredded
  1. Cut the flattened chicken into 6-8 pieces per breast.
  2. Salt and place on a rack on top of a cookie sheet
  3. Cover and refrigerate 30 min
  4. This is when I made the red sauce, see below for steps and heated the oven to broil
  5. Combine the breadcrumbs, potato chips, oregano, parsley and garlic powder in a gallon zip-top bag and crush into a course meal.
  6. set up a breading station (flour, egg, crumbs from step 5).
  7. Dry off chicken then put through the breading process. place on another rack over a cookie sheet to collect any excess coating
  8. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams, add half the breaded chicken to the pan, but don’t overcrowd. Cook, undisturbed, until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the clean rack, wipe out the pan and repeat with the remaining butter, oil and chicken
  9. Spread 3/4 cup of the red sauce into the bottom of a a 9-by-13-inch broiler-safe baking dish and broil about 2 minutes.
  10. Remove the dish from the oven and arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer. Dot the chicken with the remaining red sauce,  Scatter the cheeses over the sauce.
  11. put back under the broiler until the cheese begins to brown
  12. enjoy!

Red Sauce

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  • 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Two 28-ounce cans peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained
  • One 2-inch Parmesan rind
  1. grate garlic on micoplane to form a paste
  2. mix with 1/4 cup EVOO and salt
  3. cook in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until it begins to brown
  4. add the anchovies and break down with a wooden spatula
  5. add strained tomatoes and break up with wooden spatula
  6. submerge the Parmesan rind
  7. reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 1 hour or until the sauce looks “dry”
  8. discard the rind and use the rest for the chicken parm

 

This was sooooooo good. We really enjoyed this chicken parm. I used 3 breasts since that was what was in the pack we purchased. Since it didn’t all fit into the pan we had some that did not have sauce on it. This was a really good breaded chicken patty.

So here is what I’d do different… I enjoyed the sauce that was in the bottom of the pan that had been broiled, but I didn’t like having the chicken on top of it as it started to get soggy. So next time I will put one pan in the oven with just sauce, and another one with the chicken and cheese and make my own chicken parms tableside!

 

family · life · through my camera lens

weekend update

Well I enjoyed posting my blog hop. If you didn’t play along yet, it isn’t too late. Grab the information here and reflect on the back to school topics on your blog.

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This weekend we were busy. Friday night we went to Pour at the Park. This is an annual fund raiser for Allegheny Parks. This was our third year attending. It is a great way to give back to the park we use so much. They have food and alcohol company from around the area come and distribute their products. We purchased a drink pass for Richard and a designated driver pass for me. In the years past, most of the alcohol based companies only gave away beer which I do not drink. This year I would have drank more as they had a few cider companies, one with vodka and another with rum… oh well!

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They moved the location from the lake to the lodge. While it was nice to have real bathrooms and the food places were able to use the kitchen facilities a bit, I didn’t like it as much. In the past, Richard and I spent a lot of time just chilling out looking at the lake. Also there was no additional lighting so the tents that were not right near the lodge were in total darkness once the sun went down. The event didn’t end until 8:30pm.

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It was still nice to just slow down and enjoy a bit of time as a family.

Saturday we got up and went to Target to get a gift for a birthday party Blake was going to Saturday night. Then headed over to Costco. When we got home Richard decided to try out his new chainsaw. We now have more firewood. Now we just need another day to have a fire in the fire pit.Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature

After we dropped Blake off at the party, we headed into the city for dinner. Then came home to watch the UCF football game.

Sunday we had a lazy morning and then went to pick up Colby’s new bike. We got both boys got new bikes on Labor day. They got bigger frames bikes with more mountain biking features such as disk breaks and separate shifters and break leavers. They only had one bike in store, so we ordered Colby one since Blake liked the color in the store.

The boys and I went out do dinner. I swear the slider Colby was having was almost as big as his head. Image may contain: 1 person, eating, sitting, child, drink, food and indoor

Today everyone was back to school!

 

blog hop · family · life

Back to school blog hop– Day 7! (the end)

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!Image may contain: text

Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog https://teacherturnedmommyblog.wordpress.com/ so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

What’s in your lunchbox?

This is my last topic in my blog hop. Thank you to those who played along and those who enjoyed reading my replies.

So… what’s in my lunchbox? While I don’t have lunch at work since I only work part time, I do occasionally bring snack with me to work. I typically will bring myself yogurt, carrots with hummus or cheese.

So, lets talk about the boys instead. Blake and Colby began packing their own lunches when I went back to work. This put Blake as a first grader and Colby as a kindergartner.  When they were that age, they used the Sistema lunch cubes. They learned that they had to pack their main item into the large section. Then they packed either fruit or vegetable into one of the small sections and a “junk” in the other section. They packed their lunch after dinner and put the box into the fridge. I would then pack it into their lunchbox.

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While the boys no longer use this lunch cube, they do still pack their lunch in a very similar fashion. They have to pack a protein, fruit/veggie and then can have snacks to go with it. They pack their lunch after dinner, put it the fridge and I pack it into the lunch box in the morning.

So, what do you find in their lunches?

Blake– pizza, deli (ham or bologna), chicken tenders, or leftovers for his main item. Apples… only apples… for his fruit or veggies. He takes a half an apple sliced (soak the slices in sprite and it won’t brown). Junk: chips, pretzels, cookies, mini muffins

Colby– uncrustable, cereal with milk, deli ham. Fruit/veggie: whole apple, carrots w/ dressing, grapes, pears. Junk: granola bars/Zbars, chips, pretzels, cookies, popcorn

What is in your lunchbox? Your child’s lunchbox?

 

 

blog hop · life

Back to School Blog Hop- Day 6

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!Image may contain: text

Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog https://teacherturnedmommyblog.wordpress.com/ so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

Make New Friends

I think this is one of those topics that I’m not even close to an expert.  I grew up in a small town and went to school with a lot of the same kids for years and years. I didn’t make a lot of friends in that group of kids. My junior year at school I changed schools. I was able to make friends. This was a small all girls school.

When I went to college, I also went to a small college. I found that I did a lot better when I’m a big fish in a little pond.

What I find with me is I have a hard time making friends, but I’m a good friend to those who do befriend me. I am still in contact with some of the people at the second hs as well as from college.

I tend to be a good co-worker, but that doesn’t mean I’m really friends with them. I have neighbors and acquaintances, but I’m not sure I have friends here.

This dynamic is very different from my parents and my brother. They have friends and make friends easily. Colby has a lot of friends too.

I guess there is something about some people that make people drawn to them, and that isn’t a part of who I am… and in a lot of ways I’m ok with that now. When I was younger I didn’t understand it. Every child wants to have friends. They want to be liked and have others want to be around them. But, then I think there comes a phase when you realize that you don’t need a ton of friends. You need  few good ones. I’m just glad that I’m married to my best one.

blog hop · life

Back to school blog hop- day 5

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!Image may contain: text

Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog https://teacherturnedmommyblog.wordpress.com/ so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

You can go back and read my posts here, here, here, here AND here. Also go check out AJ at A Petite Slice of Life and Alley Bean at Spectacle Bean to see their posts on my blog hop. Are you ready to join in the fun? Please join in and post on my blog hop topics… it’s fun to go on a trip down memory lane… or talk about your children starting school…. or even you teaching or going to college now!

Onto today’s topic….

A New Box of Crayons

There is something special about opening up a new box of crayons. Everyone has it’s perfect tip. No one has used them yet… I get to be the first to imagine with these perfect beauties.

That being said, I’m going to make a statement that will shock many of you… I don’t like to color. I loved to color as a child. I had all kinds of art supplies and would color all the time. But, when I was in college we had to do all these creative coloring projects to present for my education classes and after that I never wanted to color….ever… again! So, I don’t.

When my children were little we used crayons more to draw than to color. I almost never put out coloring pages in school. I’d rather people use their imagination and be more creative than coloring in the lines. I present things to create and provide multi-media in my classrooms.

So while each year I open up brand new boxes of crayons for my classes, you will not see me coloring with them. (this also means I don’t get the whole adult coloring book thing, but that’s just me!)

So what do you think of with a brand new box of crayons? Did you always want a bigger box? Did you like to color… do you now? Can you explain the coloring books for adults?

Education · life · PreK class · through my camera lens

First day of school… for me!

I’m taking a break from my blog hop for the day. You can go back and read my posts here, here, here, here AND here. Also go check out AJ at A Petite Slice of Life and Alley Bean at Spectacle Bean to see their posts on my blog hop. Are you ready to join in the fun? Please join in and post on my blog hop topics… it’s fun to go on a trip down memory lane… or talk about your children starting school…. or even you teaching or going to college now!

But I wanted to take a break from the actual blog hop topics to tell you about my actual first day of school! I went back last week for teacher prep week and then this week we had our meet the teacher nights… today we started school!

I revamped my whole room, I almost always do this… I guess I don’t like things being the same? So here you go… a peek into my room. Oh and the day went better than I expected. Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

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blog hop · family · food · life

Back to School Blog Hop- Day 4

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!Image may contain: text

Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog https://teacherturnedmommyblog.wordpress.com/ so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

Apples

Apples are a fall favorite around here. All of us love to eat apples, but there is nothing better than going apple picking at a local farm and then eating those fresh picked apples.

Every fall the local farm has a fall festival where you can go and pick apples in their orchard. We then use them to eat, make applesauce and apple pies. Apples is also a theme I always teach. It is a great way to teach parts of a plant and physical changes. My students always love when we make homemade applesauce. I am often shocked to see how many students do not know how applesauce is made.

Now here is part of the interesting things in my family… my husband and the boys like apples that I think taste like pears (which I don’t like) such as gold delicious, red delicious and fuji apples. While I prefer McIntosh and granny smith apples I guess I like apples that are better for baking/cooking than the ones that are typically just eaten.

Oh and in case you want to know. I do not have a collection of apple items. Shhh don’t tell anyone, but I never keep any of the teacher gifts people give me. I’m sorry, but I’ve been teaching over 14 years if I kept every apple gift or best teacher ever gift, my house and classroom would be FULL of these items. Please, please, please… do not give teachers teacher gifts!

OK… so now it is your turn. What do you think of apples? Do you have a favorite apple? Do you like to bake with apples? If you are a teacher, do you like to get apple items from your students? Join in my blog hop and have fun posting about all things back to school.