Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mixing Business with Pleasure

So, if you happen to stop by my blog on a regular basis, you know by now that I am currently in my first year teaching Civics to eighth grade students. It has been a challenging few months with lots of trial and error. I am always open to trying new things. I want to do what is best for the students, of course, but I also want to do what is best for myself. That means being as organized as possible. It really is the key to keeping stress levels at a minimum.

For those of you who are close to any children who are 13-14 years old, you already know that most of them are still a bit immature. I don't mean to say that ALL of them are, but in my experience....I will say "most." They are still learning self-control, discipline, and organization (heck, I even know some adults who lack these skills...LOL). I believe that it is a part of my job to teach the children these things. It is not entirely my job, but it is a part of what I do. Of course, Civics is important. I want them all to understand their government and the importance of their role in it. But, if they walk out not remembering any content at the end of this year....I would be just fine knowing they might have learned some self-control, discipline, and organization.

Enter my mad need for organization. I am an organization freak...spreadsheets, lists, daily planners. I live by them. I am always looking for a way to organize better to save time, save energy, and reduce stress. So, imagine how I must feel when 35 eighth graders bounce into my room with 50 questions at one time. They run right up to my desk asking all sorts of questions from "Can I go to the bathroom?" to "Can I have another homework paper?" to "Do you want to see my new cell phone?". I like to let them know that all of their questions are important, but I also want to make sure that we use our class time wisely. So, I made a rule that I will answer 3 questions at the beginning of class...the first three that are asked. The rest have to wait until the lesson is over. The students who arrive first have the advantage, so it also helps with getting the kids to class on time. In order to make this work, I have used my scrapbooking skills to create a sort of "Take a number" system. Using some of my Fancy Pants goodies, I altered these adorable clothes pins. There are three of them...each with a number from 1 to 3 on them.

I have them clipped to my podium where the kids can grab them as they enter the classroom. They then can sit down while I take roll. Once they see all of the numbers have been taken, they know that they will have to wait until after the lesson to ask their question, and they must go right to their seat. Now, if the question is not important, most of them forget about it once I am done teaching. Many times, if they allow me to speak before they bombard me with questions, their questions get answered before they even have to ask. For those who have bathroom or nurse emergencies, I do allow them to ask for that. You can tell who really has a problem from those who really don't. The system is still pretty new in my room, and the kids are still trying to get used to it....but, I believe that once they have done it for a few weeks that it will be second nature. It is all about developing those good habits.

I love that I was able to incorporate 2 of my favorite things, teaching and scrapbooking, together. I had so much fun making these clothes pins. I used paper, rub ons, and brads from the Fancy Pants All Fall collection. The tags with the numbers are chipboard tags by Fancy Pants, too. I cut the letters out with my handy dandy Silhouette! Gotta love that tool for school, too...the skies the limit for bulletin boards! How fun is that! I have lots of other ideas for my scrapbook goodies in the classroom, and I will be sure to share once I am done!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope every one's week started out on a good note!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Next Survivor Series...a MUST read!

I normally get a bit frustrated by the amount of chain e-mails that I get. It gets tough wading through all of them trying to find the important e-mails. I do, once in a while, have enough time to open some of them to read. I am so glad that I had a chance to open this one. All of you Moms out there will love this one! It certainly is worth the five minutes it takes to read it! Enjoy!


Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time--no emailing.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.

He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book to the kids each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called Mother!

After you get done laughing, send this to as many females as you think will get a kick out of it and as many men as you think can handle it. Just don't send it back to me....I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I have to say it again...the new Fancy Pants rocks!

I know that I mentioned it on one of my last posts, but I just have to say it again. Fancy Pants has 2 new releases that are simply gorgeous! I loved them when I saw them online, and I love them even more now that I have seen them in person! I received a box in the mail today with the new goodies, and I am simply in heaven. The first line is a winter line called Arctic Chill. It was designed by Jackie Eckles and has some of the most beautiful colors and patterns. Love the touches of green!

The second line is called Splendid. Designed by Michelle Coleman, it is perfect for Valentines Day or for any pictures of your loved ones. I see an awesome mini-book here. Maybe a gift for Mom for Christmas.
I love the the blue, and red together in this line. I knew that I would love it because I love everything that Michelle designs!

These lines will be available very soon. You can check out the Fancy Pants website for more information. Keep your eyes on the Fancy Pants DT gallery, too. You will always see awesome new stuff from all the talented girls!

Off to bed to dream some "scrappin' dreams". Have a great night!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That's my boy!

Ryan has become quite conditioned to smiling for the camera. After all, I've been following him around for almost 9 years trying to capture him in all of his moments. That's a good thing....I guess. However, it sometimes makes for some dull pictures of him just smiling nice to get his picture taken. So, the other day as we were outside watching a neighborhood cat frolic through our yard, I told him not to smile for me, but to just be himself (whatever that means). This is what I got:
I guess I should be careful what I ask for!

Monday, October 20, 2008


It is so hard to believe that Autumn is here already. Where does time go? The days and weeks are just clicking off so fast. Does anyone else feel like this, or am I the only crazy person around? I guess I must be having fun....LOL!

While I had my head buried in Civics books looking for up to the minute information to shower my students with, my eyes glued to the computer screen searching for new and interesting techniques to get (and keep) my students' attention, and my fingers permanently wrapped around a pen grading the homework that I manage to get only a percentage of my students to complete, Mother Nature went and did this:

Glorious, isn't it? How did I miss this? Have I been so preoccupied that I managed to miss what is right outside my window? In past years, I had my eyes peeled for the first signs of Autumn...one colored leaf would have me grabbing my camera and my son for a spur of the moment photo shoot to document the changing of seasons. Somehow, it just got away from me this year. Thank goodness I opened my eyes when I did, or I would have missed it all. So, on Saturday, I did what any self-respecting mother and scrapbooker would do...I tossed my boy in the car and headed out for the leaves. Thanks goodness I had the camera battery charged!

I took over 100 pictures, and I am itching to scrap. I'm thinking I might bust out the All Fall line from Fancy Pants later this week....sounds perfect to me!

Hope everyone is well. Halloween is upon us....I guess I better keep that battery charged! Enjoy your day!

Oh...and I almost forgot to mention that the Fancy Pants DT girls will be taking turns each week to showcase some cool projects done with FP goodies. You can check out this weeks project here. And..............the news is out.....Fancy Pants will be offereing 2 new, awesome releases very soon! How cool! I love new stuff! You can check both of them out here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Finally....scrappin' time!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to have the chance to scrap yesterday. I feel like I have not done it in forever. Last week, I got a HUGE box of goodies from Fancy Pants, and I have been so busy that I didn't even have the chance to look through everything. It was like Christmas in October as I finally went through the box! Such fun stuff that I just had to take some time off from school work to do some creating. I used papers from the All Fall line and some of the All Fall chipboard letters, too. Of course, I had to add some buttons just because they are my favorite embellishment right now. The felt flowers are Fancy Pants, too! Can I say that I am just elated to be on the FP team and to get to work with such awesome goodies! So, here is what I came up with yesterday:

Mostly everything on my layout is Fancy Pants with the exception of some letter stickers from Doodlebug, a rub on from Melissa Frances, some DMC embroidery floss, and a tag from Making Memories. Have I mentioned lately how much I love scrapbooking???? I just wish that I had more time to keep creating, but lesson plans await!

Thanks for stopping by and have yourself a great day!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Thank You & Getting ready for Halloween!

I just want to take a minute to thank everyone who left beautiful comments and sent sweet e-mails regarding the passing of my grandmother. It has been a tough week, and I am finally getting back into life. Please continue to keep my Pop in your prayers as he will most certainly need the strength to carry on without my Gram. I'm pretty sure we have convinced him to go to Virginia with my aunt. She doesn't work outside the home, and he will have someone to take care of him, keep him company, and help put some meat on his bones (she is an awesome cook). Of course, we will miss him dearly here in PA, but I do believe that it is what is best for him right now.

October is here and that means that Halloween is not far behind. It's hard for me to believe that it is that time again. It seems that every year, I am a bit behind in getting Ryan's Halloween costume. You see...he is quite picky. He has rules when it comes to costumes.

1. No masks.
2. No face paint.
3. Nothing scary.

Okay, so this just about rules out almost every costume that I can think of. Imagine the horror of trying to find something that he will wear. Let's see, we have been:

1. Tigger (2000)--my choice...he was not even 1 years old at that time
2. Mickey Mouse (2001)--he still had no say!
3. Spongebob (2002)--he'd be that every year if it were up to him
4. Jimmy Neutron (2003)--don't even ask???
5. Spiderman (2004)--I don't even remember him liking spiderman...and what made him wear that mask???
6. The Human Torch (2005)--you know, the superhero guy
7. A frog (2006)--what else can I say about that?
8. A Hot Dog (2007)--what a hoot that was!

Hard to believe that he has already seen 8 Halloweens! Where does the time go? As I type this post, I just decided that I am going to do a mini album with all of his Halloween pictures. Keep in mind that the earlier pictures are terrible quality. But, it is the memories that matter most.

Here's a layout that was published in Creating Keepsakes magazine. It was for the Becky Higgins Sketch back in 2006. Not only has Ryan changed so much, but look at how my scrapping style has changed! It is fun to look back on my old layouts, though, and see the difference!

Oh, and here is a picture of the costume that Ryan picked this year. He was determined to be a bug. Well, after an endless Internet search and too many dollars later, he picked this from Pottery Barn Kids:

Of course, Ryan is much older than this boy, but they did actually have this costume in a size 7-8, so we went with it! So, what are your kids being this year? I'd love to know. It's such a fun time of year, and I so enjoy seeing what all of the kids will be!