Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Classroom Ideas

It's that time again!  Stores are stocked with binders, crayons, and new backpacks.  School supply lists are the hot commodity.  And teachers are wondering... where did the summer go?!  :)  School will be starting back up in about 3 weeks which means teachers are starting up, well, now.  I would like to get into my classroom, especially since we are going to New York for the good part of next week, but technically I can't until August 1 when construction is finished.  I may get to a little bit this week while we are in doing beginning of the year testing, shhh....  :)   I finally have a room that I know is mine and it feels that way.  I've kinda felt like I didn't fully make myself at home in either of my classrooms because it was never certain a.) that I would be coming back and b.) I would be in the same classroom/grade level.  Needless to say, I am pumped I am in my own room doing all day kindergarten for hopefully a while!  That means I really get to dig in to my room and think about what I like and don't like about the set up.   For the most part, I like the organization of my big areas and furniture in the room.  I am thinking of redoing some bulletin boards, but what I really want to reorganize is my classroom library nook.  It needs some love.  I want to make it comfy and inviting for my kiddos to come in, grab a good book, and settle down to read.  Here are some ideas I am playing with.  I want to accomplish something with not too much money spent! :)

I love the idea of a reading tent, like the one in this classroom, but I want to make sure the kiddos can be seen easily by me so I can monitor their library procedures.

The jungle theme is cute in this classroom but it doesn't quite match my theme and I'm working with less space under a loft.

This reading corner might be a bit busy, but I like the tree idea.  I was thinking about a reading tree at first so I may go back to that...

I like the little chairs in the this area, and the ocean theme is cute too.

I have old pillows in the corner right now, but I think I am going to buy kids chairs/ bean bag chairs to replace them.  (I think I saw Aldis had some bean bag chairs on sale!)  I also want to incorporate some kind of item that changes with the seasons and I already have a new tub organizing system so I can get books rotated in and out easier.  I will post pictures when I decide and get it ready to go! :)
Here's to all those teachers out there getting ready for another year!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Extreme Couch Makeover

It's been a superb day... date day with Colby, nothing better!  We enjoyed some Starbucks, shopping, and then happened to go see Harry Potter again, which I'm always up for! :)  Now we're relaxing at home for a few and what better time than to blog?!

When we got our house, the people we bought it from were awesome and they left a lot of items here for us, which was wonderful because going from a one bedroom apartment to a four bedroom house was kind of a shock.  So much space and we had about enough furniture to fill maybe 3 rooms.  So it was a lot of craigslist-ing, garage sailing, and hand-me-downing.  (Yes, all of those are words I just created!)   They left a couch in the living room, a.k.a my reading room, but we realized as we started pulling in some other pieces we have bought and putting in my mamaw's piano, the couch's cover and pillows didn't quite match our decor.  So it was time for a makeover...  (and it couldn't be very expensive!)

Here's the before picture:

Buying a new couch was out of the question and why would we want to when we had a perfectly good couch already here?  I just needed to find the right look for us.
So I happened to be in Big Lots one day searching for school supplies when I thought, hey, maybe there might be a inexpensive slipcover here.  Sure enough, I found one that I thought might work.  I also found some SUPER cute pillows that I thought would match perfectly (and only $9 a piece!).  I got it home and realized it was a VERY tight fit, and after searching through 3 different stores, I found the pins that would help keep the cover secure around the base pillows.  Corkscrew pins are awesome for this, by the way!

So, about 30 minutes later and 8 corkscrew pins around the edges, this was our finished product!

  I was pretty pleased with it!!  The lamp we got for free and I had spray painted it a few months ago and added a new lamp shade. I traded out the plant for some pillars (still missing candles- oops!) that I got on clearance at Hobby Lobby and added decor to the shelf above the table.  Apparently my reading room has also become the tree themed room, haha :)  What can I say, it's peaceful!

Pillows- $9
Slipcover - $40
Total price - $58  - Yay!!

Not too bad to add a whole new look for our room.  I love finding deals! :)
Have a wonderful Saturday and stay cool in this heat!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Productive Days, Gotta Love 'Em

It has been a really great day... I got a lot accomplished and had fun along the way :)

I spend most of my morning reading kindergarten blogs and finding some really great ideas for this upcoming year.  The teachers that created those sites are awesome!  I have loved seeing what other people do and it makes me want to get moving on my room!  I made a scavenger hunt for my kiddos and their parents on the ice cream social night and I created new labels for each of my different boxes of books (20 in all!)  Then I managed to work out, clean, do laundry, get Bailey to the vet, and run some errands! Whew!

One of my projects today was to finish making some cards so here are the final products...

Congratulatory card and birthday card

Birthday card and congratulatory card

My personal favorite, the inside of the button flower card.
I really enjoy making cards, when I have the time.  It adds a personal touch.  :)   I was able to put these together with scraps of papers I had leftover from other projects, letters and swirls cut out by my Cricut Expression, and some random buttons I have collected.  They turned out pretty cute!

I really enjoyed the time I spent making these cards.  It was late afternoon, it was nice and cool in the house, and my scrapbook room is pretty peaceful.  Not to mention the amazing music Pandora was playing for me. Indulge me a moment and just sample a taste of the playlist that came up...
Blackbird-Paul McCartney
Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
Dream a Little Dream of Me- The Mamas and The Papas
She's Got a Way- Billy Joel
American Pie- Don McLean
Peace Train- Cat Stevens
Our House- Crosby, Stills & Nash
Turn, Turn, Turn- The Birds

Pandora, I thank you for a perfect mix of music for the evening :)

The rest of the evening could be summed up by the next two pictures...
Dinner... wine, cheese, crackers, and grapes
My new favorite- laughing cow cheese - only 35 calories for each triangle :)

And something else that is a bit more than 35 calories... my beer bread!
It turned out really well!  A little moist in the middle but I took it out a few minutes early so the sides wouldn't burn.  It probably could have used a couple more minutes.  
In Colby's words... "It was very good!"

Off to spend some time with my loves!

Beer Bread

For our wedding, we got a huge basket of Tastefully Simple products as a gift.  Needless to say, we ate those babies right up... especially the beer bread mix.  It was wonderful and super yummy (not to mention very addicting to eat!).  However, Tastefully Simple is a bit expensive and when you are working on a budget, spending unnecessary money is well, unnecessary.  I've been craving it for quite a while and I happened to google beer bread to see what I might find.  Lo and behold, I found this recipe and I am really excited to try it out tonight.  Thought I'd share it for the day!  I will let you know how it goes... :)

You will need:
3 cups of self rising flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
12 ounces of beer
2 TBSP melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the flour, sugar, and beer, stirring until just blended.  Save the melted butter for late. Pour into a greased bread loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  *Spread melted butter over the top of the bread during the last 10 minutes of baking.  Enjoy :)

Also while searching, I found this recipe for Honey Beer Bread, and it sounds amazing.  I might have to sample this recipe soon as well.  :)

Yum!!!  Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just one of my favorites...

I adore these cards.  I just wanted to share this because, well, I just love them.  I'm kinda obsessed with quotes.  I enjoy finding unique, meaningful quotes to use in scrapbooking and other projects, so when I saw these cards, I about passed out.  I literally could spend all day looking at their website and/or the card stand at Kroger.  I could also buy about 50 of them.  Sadly, they can be a bit pricey, so I usually only buy them for special occasions.  (A congratulatory "you made it through the week" card is a special occasion right?!)  If you haven't seen these, check them out the next time you are looking for a card.  They usually have the perfect quote for any moment.

Here are some of my favorites...

Quoteable cards are genius... simple and sweet.

Off to finish some laundry and dive back into my book...

Window Seats

I am excited, make that super excited, to announce we are ...

going to build a window seat.  Haha, gotcha right?? :) I just have to say that I am more than excited about this.  I have wanted a window seat since well like... forever.  When I was little I would pull up my little bench and sit by the window to read.  Needless to say, that got uncomfy rather quickly.  I always thought when we'd look for a house, I'd search for one with a window seat.  And then our house literally fell into our laps and we couldn't pass it up.  But sadly, there was no window seat.  So just a couple weeks ago Colby and I happened to be talking about our dining room.  It has seemed like the wall with the window REALLY needed some love and we got to talking about building a bench below it.  I was perfectly fine with that idea, but then Colby's imaginative thoughts kept going.  He suggested building shelves on either side so we could turn the bench into a real window seat.  And I took that idea and came up with the thought that the shelves should go all the way to the ceiling and look somewhat built in.  We became really enthused by these ideas and started doing some dreaming.  We're not sure exactly when we are going to start this project but hopefully by the fall we will have a new shelving unit/window seat in our dining room.  I will keep you posted. :)
In the meantime, here are some pictures that I am drawing inspiration from...

I love, love, love all the pillows on this seat...
I would want to dive right in and start reading!  Design by Erinn Valencich on HGTV

I like the idea of storage in the side with the first picture and in the second picture, having a window seat in our dining room would make it a lot easier just to pull the table up to the window seat and voila! Instant extra seating!

I love the idea of putting sconces on the wall next to it to provide some extra light...
This blog has some really pretty pictures of window seats too

Eventually these two ideas are what we're aiming for and like the best...
Love the look and a how-to guide   
I think I would add more shelving on the sides and just have cabinet doors on the bottom.

Annnndddd drumroll.... This is most likely what ours will look like (minus being built up to the ceiling)...
Loved this look with the right amount of shelving space on the side and cabinets below. Great idea 

We've loved dreaming, now it's onto specifically designing to meet our needs and some pricing!
Keep you updated! :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Harry Potter

Tonight marks the ending of something that began over a decade ago when my mamaw had ordered this new book about a boy named Harry Potter originally for my brother but gave it to me after seeing it was a chapter book.  That day my love for the books and eventually the movies sparked and it is bittersweet to know that tonight the last movie comes out and we all say have to say goodbye to the series.  It doesn't mean it's over, no, but the anticipation will be unparalleled with any other type of franchise.
It may sound silly that I am this excited/sad about a movie, about a book, but for me they were so much more.  The magical world that J.K. Rowling created reaches all different types of people and all different ages.  To me, I owe my love of this series to my mamaw and that holds a special place in my heart.  And there was always another book coming and then another movie coming.  It's surreal to me that said anticipation ends in 7 or so hours.  So tonight, we'll line up for hours, wait in anticipation for the midnight show, get caught up in the magic once again, and say goodbye to one of the most loved fictional characters of my generation.
To make my sad post a little happier, I created some fun items for the midnight show that I thought I'd share.  They aren't anything special, but they were fun to make. :)
First I started with some regular movie size candy boxes (Thank you Dollar Tree for being inexpensive!), some wrapping paper (more on that later), the Harry Potter books, and some imagination.

Then, I thought I had bought silver wrapping paper at the Dollar Tree.  Well, I guess I should have actually read the outside rather than just grab and go.  I ended up buying transparent wrapping paper (very convincing silver all wrapped up!) on accident.  I didn't realize this until I was getting ready to make them, so I improvised and wrapped the boxes in tissue paper instead.
Then I created labels for each box with names of candy from the Harry Potter books.  I made the labels on the computer and added graphics, like the "Honeydukes" label and used the "Harry P" font.  They turned out basic but really cute! :)

 Here are my version of Bertie Botts:   (Mike and Ikes)

Fizzing Whizbees (Sweetarts)

Pepper Imps (Hot Tamales)

 Ice Mice (Rainbow Nerds)

 Licorice Wands (Twizzlers) and Jelly Slugs (Gummi Worms)

I also made Chocoballs (Buncha Crunch) but the silly picture wouldn't upload.

I am excited to hand these out tonight to my family as we wait for the final movie.  You bet I'll be there in my Gryffindor scarf and glasses with some tissues in my pocket...

Why Now?

Well, it's summer.  To be correct, it's the middle of summer and boy is it flying by.  I've found over the past two years that during the school year, between school stuff, family, Colby's school, and everything else that goes along with work, I lose track of the things I enjoy doing.  My free moments are most always spent "catching up" whether that be at school or at home.  This summer has been a nice break to spend some time creating and imagining and revisiting those little ideas stuck somewhere in the back of my mind.

I'm hoping this blog will help keep me inspired to do the things I love, such as scrapbook, home projects, reworking things in our house, etc.  Somethings I find or post might be achievable in the near future, other projects may be further down the road, and some might be pure dreaming, hence the name, whimsical wishes.  But, I think it is always important to day dream, to create, to build those castles in the sky.

I've found that I really relish the time I spend while doing such things so my goal is to spend a little time each week, whether it be 15 minutes to 2 hours, working on something that brings joy to me and my family.  Here's hoping I can keep my goal, at least most of the time. :)