Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Currently!!!

Linking up with Farly at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for the July Currently  a few days ahead of time! Which  actually works out perfectly because July is going to one hectic, but amazing month for me!

Listening :)
I am a lover of all types of music and find myself finding new artists and songs quite often. I now have Lorde's song "Royals" on repeat. Normally I don't listen to the radio and most of my new found music is found elsewhere. I left my iPod at home and was stuck listening to the radio. This song played and I was hooked! I love it and I can't believe a 16 year old girl sings it. Love her voice. 

Loving :)
I'm beginning to think I am the only one out here that loves the heat! We are in the midst of a heat wave  out here in Southern California. I suppose 100 degrees is hot, but I can't get enough of it! My friends and husband think I am crazy. I love to sit on my front porch, with a glass of wine and a good book.

Thinking :)
This month is going to be seriously hectic. In fact I am busy pretty much the whole month...crazy! I'm super excited for a few statewide trips I will heading out on. Heading to Portland, OR to visit with some close childhood friends. It seems most of them became Portland transplants and I don't mind one bit! I love visiting them. I'm back for 3 days and then gotta pack up for New Jersey/New York. I was chosen (along with my friend/colleague) to attend the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teacher's Academy. It's a week long all expense paid trip in Jersey City. The academy is focused on inquiry/project based math and science concepts. It should be a lot of fun. Did I mention it is an all expense paid trip?!?! How awesome is that! Our hotel is located along the Hudson River with an amazing view of NYC. Jersey City is super close to NYC, so of course we will be heading out for a few nights on the town. I will tell you all about the academy when I get back. If you are interested check it out and apply. I believe you can start applying in October. Good luck!! Click this link --->>>  Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy

Wanting :)
I really want a cute, light colored summer purse. I'm not the kind of gal who has an array of purses. I've never been that way. I buy a purse and use it until the strap is broken or there is hole in it. I just never had the desire to continually have to switch all my belongings from one purse to the next in order for it to match my outfit. But right now I have a black purse and most of my summer clothing is light in color and the big black blob on my side is an eyesore.  Look at how cute the purses below are!

Needing :)
We've been (the hubby and myself) living in our place for 5 years now and have done absolutely nothing to the backyard. I call it the "backyard wasteland" because it is so gross and ugly! When we first moved in we focused on the front and inside of the house. It was a lot of work, we redid everything...from painting the inside and outside to gutting the kitchen (still need to complete the crown molding in the kitchen...but that's another story). So the backyard was put on the back burner. When we moved in their was no grass and there are no sprinklers. This means in the winter we have an overgrown wonderland of weeds (sometimes it's quite beautiful from a photographers eye) and in the summer well it's a barren desert oasis. My poor pooches I know must be yearning for some sweet, soft grass to run their paws through. They bring in all the dirt and weeds and I am the lucky one who is sweeping the floors on a daily basis.  The photos below tell the story. We are the proud owners of a few weeds that are taller than yours truly and I'm 5'5. We even have pathways that our boys (my pooches) have created in their wanderings...don't you agree...kind of embarrassing.... 


Tips, Tricks, or Hints :)

The only bit of advice I've got today would be to keep a positive outlook on life even when the going gets tough. I know it's cliche, but it is so very true. This year I've really tried hard to be positive and for the most part I think I did a pretty good job at it. When I was hit with some hurdles, I tried to look for the good in the situation and everything turned out well. I feel that when people have a positive outlook they are much happier. 

I hope you all are enjoying your summer! 

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday....Already!!! Wowsa!

Happy Saturday...err...Friday!! I was quite confused this morning when I woke up and my husband was gone. Then it dawned on me, today is Friday not Saturday.  During summer break my mind doesn't seem to pay attention to what day it is.

I'm linkin' up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the weekly Five for Friday.

This was a week of hanging out with some pretty wonderful friends! I'm so lucky to have each and every one  of them in my life! We relaxed and chatted over summer beverages, met up for lunch (of course discussing the next school year...we are just too excited!), and my BFF was in town and we people watched at Downtown Disney.

Charity made some super tasty summer beverages for us!

Teacher Binder
I finished making my teacher binder for the school year! I am in love with Erin Condren's teacher planners. They are super cute and I have heard nothing but wonderful things about them. But they are a bit too pricey for my pocket book right now. I guess I will have to wait for a sale or coupon code. One of my friends told me TPT has a bunch of cute teacher binder templates. Boy was she ever right!  I found some cute templates on TPT created by Blair Turner.

Ready for the beginning of the school year!

Washing the Cars
Ok, so I wasn't exactly washing any cars. I was sitting on the porch reading a book (The Art of Racing in the Rain) and occasionally glancing at my husband and my brother-in-law as they worked hard in the heat of the day. If your an animal lover, you must read this book! Be prepared to shed some tears. Buster and Hansy wanted in on the car washing action. So they got to sit in the bed of the truck. Aren't they too cute for words!


While hanging out at Downtown Disney, my friend Brianne noticed the popularity of neon clothing. I haven't noticed it much. But once she pointed it out...yes! Neon is everywhere right now. She isn't much of a fan and I had to break it to her that I in fact have two neon colored articles of clothing. A cute dress with splashes of neon pink and a pair of shorts with splashes of neon green. She let it slide since they aren't full on slap you in the face neon articles of clothing. Glad she approves. :)

It is super cute on!

A few years ago I traveled to New Orleans and fell in love with the city. It is one of my most favorite cities in the U.S.  While looking through my Netflix account, I came across the series Treme. The series begins three months after Hurricane Katrina as the residents of NOLA try to rebuild their lives, their homes, and their culture in the aftermath of the storm. I'm still on season 1 and the first couple of episodes were a little slow. Once you get to the 3rd episode it gets good! I'm hooked! I love the music and the second line. I miss NOLA and the amazing music that I was immersed in while on Frenchman Street. 

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend and stays cool!! I know out here we are in the midst of a crazy heat wave (I actually LOVE this heat...probably one of the only ones who does.)

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bloglovin' Hop!

I'm new to the world of blogging and was a bit confused when I heard people throwing around the term "Bloglovin." Tori from Tori's Teacher Tips has an awesome Bloglovin' Blog Hop link party going on. Did I mention her AMAZING step by step tutorial on how to make the switch?!? If you haven't already done so check out her site!

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Five for Friday!

So far summer is flying by! Gosh, I don't know how I manage to get things done during the school year! I can barely get through everything right now! Granted, I am taking my time and sleeping in ('till 8am...yup that is the extent of sleeping in for me).

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five for Friday post.

My second week of summer break looked like this:

1. There has always been such a big fuss over this burger place out in my neck of the woods: Umami Burger. I've heard about his place for years and I thought there was only one location (which wasn't too close to me). Well, one of my besties, Kristin, (she is a lifestyle blogger...check her out at The Pink Diaries) suggested we grab lunch at Umami. Now, for the most part burgers have always tasted about the same to me. Let me say that the Truffle Burger I ate at Umami was the most delicious and amazing burger my taste buds have EVER encountered! I'm hooked now! If you are in Southern CA, you must grab lunch at  Umami Burger and be amazed!

Hands down the best burger EVER! Truffle Burger, Black Cherry Soda, and Cheese Tots!

2. The weekend weather was perfect for riding! Samo and I took our motorcycle/Vespa out for a little day trip. Nothing beats the feeling of riding in the open air! Ahhh, I love it! 

3. My boys, Hans and Buster, really get spoiled during summer break! This week I took them on a little hike and boy did they have fun!
Hansy looking for critters.
Buster taking a breather! It was hot out!

4. I cooked homemade savory empanandas! I filled them with beef, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, olives, onions, jalapeƱo chiles, and red chile pepper. Often times I change up the filling. I like that I can throw whatever I want into the mixture. I love cooking, especially when I can make everything from scratch! I even had some time to make a blackberry/blueberry smoothie too! Yum!

Poppin these guys in the oven.

Ready to eat!

5. Tomorrow my best friend, Brianne, is heading into town! We have been friends since we were wee little ones, first grade buddies! Twenty-eight years of friendship and counting! We will be meeting up with another  buddy from high school, check out the Queen Mary, and roam around the Watt's Towers. Fun times await!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Packing Up and Moving On...

I am still in disbelief that the school year has ended! It seems like every year time flies by quicker than the previous year. This year was such a jam packed year for me. I wanted to make the move up and so I went from teaching 3rd grade to 5th grade. It was a difficult decision because my 3rd grade colleagues (aka: BFF's) were the most amazing teachers I have EVER worked with. At least we had about 15 minutes of the same lunch time to chat during the school day! Fifth grade has stolen my heart and I hope to plant some roots for a bit! The kids are so much fun at this age and it helps that they understand my sarcasm!

An opportunity came my way and after much thought, I decided took cease the opportunity. I will be moving to a new school for this next school year. Luckily, I will still be teaching 5th grade (super excited about this). I will miss my colleagues and students at my previous school, but I felt it was time for me to move on professionally. I'm also not too far away so I will still be meeting my friends for a much needed happy hour every now and then.

Walking off campus for the last time really got me teary eyed. Change is always difficult, but it is a part of life and if nothing ever changed we'd never grow. Luckily, I left on good terms so they haven't seen the last of me!

So I spent a few weeks packing up my room. Wowsa! I didn't realize how much stuff I had. Scholastic has helped me acquire a pretty extensive library. My students love it, but packing it up wasn't so fun. So now my garage is the storing grounds for my whole classroom. I'm excited to get the keys to my new classroom and start the unpacking and organizing. I'm excited and looking forward to meeting my new colleagues and future students.

Packing up the library (my cell phone takes horrible photos) and that is only a small part of my classroom library.

Bye bye classroom. It's all packed up, cleaned, and ready for the next teacher.

The new home for all my teaching garage...much to my husband's dismay.


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Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Currently!

I'm new to this blogging world and I've notice a few of my blogging friends as well as blogs I follow have link up parties and such. So, I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for the June currently. Since I am new to this fabulous world of blogging it will allow me to get to know all of you!

Here is my Currently:

Listening: I am a lover of all kinds of music. My iPod is filled with such an eclectic mix of tunes from all genres. I do get quite a bit of looks and comments when certain songs come on. I guess people just don't expect me to listen to certain genres of music. Currently, I can't get enough of The Haunted Windchimes.  Check them out:

Loving:  It has taken me forever to finish my master's degree. I'm so excited that I finished! I started the masters program 7 years ago, yup you read that correctly...7 years. After the first year and a half I took a leave of absence because I was pink slipped and laid off. Life took over and I never went back. Last year, I decided I needed to finish, after all I only needed to write my thesis. Just one course, or so I thought. I was a semester late. Per my program, I was to finish within 5 years of my first course. Luckily, they didn't make me redo the whole program. They told me to take 2 more elective courses an then my thesis course. That thesis was a major pain!! It took up most of my weekends. But now I can relish in my awesome accomplishment. 

Thinking: It was a difficult decision, but I have decided to move on and I will be teaching 5th grade at a new school site in the fall. I will also be heading to the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy (MEMTA) in Jersey City this July. More to come about both of these adventures...

Mickelson ExxonMobil Teacher's Academy Check out the link and if you are a 3-5th grade teacher apply! It is a week long academy focused on math and science (in interactive and fun ways). Did I mention it is an all expenses paid trip.

Wanting:  Vacation...who doesn't want that!?!? I will be heading to Portland, Oregon for a friend's engagement party.  Of course, Jersey City is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from New York City. So, when I am at MEMTA, I will take a little detour.

Needing: My whole house needs to be cleaned. I planned on doing a thorough spring cleaning last weekend. That didn't happen. It was postponed until this weekend, well it's already Sunday night. Looks like it is once again postponed. I might just have to hire someone...

Three Vacation Essentials: Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen! I have very fair skin. I will burn just by being out in the blazing sun for 20 minutes. 


Culmination Ceremony and Dance

Wow, another year has flown by! On Friday, we had our 5th grade culmination ceremony and dance. It was a huge success! This year was the first time the 5th graders at my school would be participating in a culmination ceremony. This year things were changed up a bit and 6th grade is now part of the middle school. So, that meant I was in charge of both the ceremony and the dance. I wanted to make the event special for the students and I had one month to plan everything! The theme we chose was borrowed from Dr. Suess: "Oh, the places you'll go!"

The photobooth was a huge success! We used streamers and tissue paper flowers (made by our awesome parents!)

The props were super awesome and free!!! I printed them from Oh Happy Day They were super easy to make. All you need is a glue gun, dowels, and card stock. You can print them on any kind of paper, but card stock is much sturdier. I bought the dowels at Micheal's Craft store. I was able to cut one dowel down to three pieces.

The cupcakes came out perfect! I went to the local bakery and explained what I wanted and they definitely delivered! They even sprinkled some edible glitter on the cupcakes (difficult to see in this photo). These were a huge hit with the kiddos!

To continue with the theme, I made some sign posts to place around the multipurpose room. I went to Home Depot and bought four garden stakes (I'm not sure what they are called...but you use them to secure newly planted trees in the ground) and I had some plywood at home in which I cut into four squares (for the base of the sign post).


I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the yarn chandeliers turned out! I was a brave and decided to attempt this as a class project. I gathered my 34 5th graders and we made our way to the balcony/patio and went to work. It was a beautiful mess! Of course that made it even more fun for my students. I posted the directions below the photo. Keep in mind that you will have glue all over you when this project is finished!
Student Made Yarn Chandelier
Here is what you will need: balloons, yarn, cornstarch, glue, vaseline, clothes rack (or something/somewhere to hang them) and a tarp

1. Blow up your balloons (various sizes).

2. Attach a yarn string to your balloon (this will be needed to hang it to dry).

3. Before you start, lay the tarp down and bring out a clothes rack or something that you can hang the balloons to dry from.

4. First coat your balloons with vaseline. This will prevent the yarn from sticking to the balloons when you pop them.

5.  Next mix 1/2 cup cornstarch with 1/4 cup warm water and add about half of a container of glue in a bowl. You may want to purchase inexpensive bowls because I ended up tossing them when we were done with the project. You will also need to make this mixture a few times depending upon how many balloons you make.  This mixture makes about 3 medium sized balloons.

6.  Dip your yarn in the glue mixture and make sure to squeeze some of the excess out. Start by wrapping the yarn vertically around the balloon and then wrap it around the remainder of the balloon horizontally.

7.  Once you finish the balloon, hang it from the clothing rack to dry. It will take about 24 hours to dry. Once the yarn is completely dry you can pop the balloons and you will be left with a yarn chandelier.

The room we were using for the dance was huge and we had a lot of wall to cover. So, I decided to make a few posters using the design from the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You'll Go. I think they turned out pretty nifty! My wooden floor and husband think otherwise. I ended up getting paint all over myself, the pooches, and the floor.

We blew up more than 140 balloons for this event! We did use some helium balloons, but those were mostly used on the rooftop outside (this is where the culmination ceremony took place). We attached the balloons to the doorways, the stage (photo below), the wall, and then a bunch were strewn out on the floor (the students thought that was the best).

Balloons and streamers everywhere!
Tissue flowers and buckets as vases
Giant Tissue Paper Poms and Yarn Chandeliers
In the midst of setting up
Such a huge room to decorate!!! Still setting things up.

I thought it would be a neat idea to also give each student a candy bar award. I found a PDF file online for these amazing and colorful awards created by Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits,


For the culmination ceremony, I thought it would be neat to have special t-shirts made for the students. One of my colleagues has a husband who designs clothing/t-shirts and he was awesome enough to design the shirts for us! The front had our school mascot (but more middle school looking than elementary school looking...if you know what I mean). The back of the shirts had the name of our school, class of 2013, the teacher's names, and then all the student names. The shirts were a big hit! We rolled the shirts up to look like diplomas, tied them with black balloon/wrapping ribbon, and attached a card with their name written on it. It added a nice touch to the ceremony.

The culmination ceremony was run by the students. Different students came up to the podium to welcome the families, introduce student speakers who wrote essays, introduce the teachers to hand out achievement awards, etc. One thing that the parents were very appreciative of was that we had students also translate what was just said in Spanish. Most of our parents speak Spanish and this was a wonderful way for them to feel included in the ceremony. 

I also made invitations using the Dr. Seuss pattern from the book (example below) in Photoshop. Since the actual invitations contain addresses and so forth I am unable to post a photo on here. 

Wowsa! This was such a long post!! I must say the planning, making, and setting up the ceremony and dance was a lot of hardwork! I had many late nights at work as well as at home. I'm so thankful for my colleagues who helped out and the parents who volunteered the day of to help with the set up and tear down of the event. Seeing the happiness and joy on my students faces made all the hard work worth it! I mean, they were practically tearing down the door to get into the dance!!

~Chelsea :)