Sunday, January 27, 2013

52 Weeks of Pinterest: Week 3 - Loaded Potato Casserole

Sorry it's a week late, I completely forgot that I didn't post it, lol!  That does not look promising for the next 49 weeks but here's to hoping!  This week we made a recipe: Loaded Potato Casserole.  It is an AMAZING side dish that we had with steak and green beans that I had found on Pinterest (obviously).  Luckily for me the lovely little recipe (who doesn't love recipes that are 5 ingredients or less) was in the comment box because when you click on the picture to take you to its origin site, Pinterest has blocked it because of spam.  This recipe is beyond delicious and easy and definitely worth putting in your own personal recipe binder. Without further adieu, I give you Loaded Potato Casserole!

Loaded Potato Casserole
  • 1 container (16oz) sour cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag (3oz) real bacon bits
  • 1 package ranch dip mix
  • 1/2 bag frozen hash brown potatoes
Combine all the ingredient in a bowl and spread into an 8x8 (sprayed) casserole dish.  Put all in the oven at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes and voila!  Deliciousness!

Happy eating!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Idioms: Literal vs. Figurative

We recently finished our unit on Figurative Language and Poetry and my kids voted this as one of their favorite activities!  Each of my students picked an idiom that they wanted to illustrate and as they chose they had to tell me what their idiom meant.  If they didn't know we got to "poll the audience" (ask the class if they know) or we looked up the definition in Scholastic's Idiom Dictionary.  That is a must if you don't have it already!  So many great idioms, definitions, and examples in context.

Once everyone had their idiom they began coloring their pictures (no white space, they had to take up the whole box) and writing the meaning for each version.  I created the template with an area for both the literal meaning and one for the figurative.  When they were all done we hung them up in the hall.   The final product was amazing!  The kids did such a wonderful job showing how ridiculous the literal meaning could be and perfect visuals to explain the figurative meaning.  Here are just a few examples:

Click here to get this activity at my TPT store!  It includes the directions sheet, possible idioms list, and the "Literally vs. Figuratively" template.  I hope y'all enjoy it as much as my kiddos did!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Valentine's Day Postcards

In celebration of the upcoming Valentine's day (and my birthday) I am bringing you last year's Valentine's Day "craft"!  It is not as easy to come up with fun holiday crafts in fifth grade.  Either they have already done them or most of the ideas are a little too cheesy, but the kids still LOVE doing stuff.  So we decided to make a Valentine's Day craft/memento.  Did you know that you could send your prepackaged valentine to Loveland, Colorado, and they will send it off to your loved one with their yearly art work/poem stamp?  Who wouldn't love to get a valentine from the Sweetheart City?!  I have also heard that other cities like Kissimee, Florida and places with themed names like that will do this but Loveland is the most famous.  I always tell the kids it's like getting a letter from Halloweentown for Halloween!  I know it seems a little redundant to send them all the way to Colorado and then have Colorado send them back but it's something different and fun :o)

This past year I created a postcard template and my students spent about a week designing the front of their postcard and writing a special message on the back to their parents.  I liked this project a lot more than I thought I would and the kids did too!  It helped them with their letter writing and envelope labeling skills and showed me that sometimes we really take the little things for granted (like kids not knowing they need to put the recipient's name above the address).  And who doesn't love to get a piece of mail that isn't a bill?  Even the kids were excited to receive the postcard at home and it wasn't even for them!
The template with a note to my old coworker
Once our final product was finished I sent the postcards off to Loveland, CO, they stamped them and sent them back to us.  The neat thing about this is that every year the city holds a contest for the artwork of that year's stamp.  So every year you can expect something new!  Here are a few of their masterpieces and what it looked like when it was returned.


Yes, I am aware that this student wrote Valentime's Day... (agh, one of my biggest pet peeves!)  Even after editing it is apparently still ingrained in her head, lol.  What can you do?  I liked that this was a new twist on the ordinary Valentine craft and hope that you enjoy it just as much!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

52 Weeks of Pinterest: Week 2 Personal Organizer

Last week's Pinterest creation, the Family Organization Binder, had me thinking that I wanted a little mini binder for myself!  There were some cute ideas on Pinterest and Crystal Wilkerson had some really cute ideas and printables but you have to buy them.  Right now we are trying to save for a house (every little bit helps, right) so I decided to give a shot at making some things I needed myself.  Here is a picture of the cover of my planner, I made it with my new Silhouette Cameo (thank you best husband ever!).

I love this Avery 8" x 5.5" binder!  It's got this little pocket on the inside that holds my pens, highlighters, post its, etc.  AND it also doesn't seem to bulge out and get in the way of closing it.  I know that seems a little silly to care about but I do ;o)  Oh life's little things!

Yeah, that's our kitchen floor and oven, but it was the best lighting with no shadow at this time of night! Don't judge, haha!

Inside there is a pack of paper, which I noticed with more and more meetings going on (especially with FCAT rapidly approaching) I needed more writing space than my last planner was able to hold so this was the perfect solution!  I bought the pocket folder dividers from Avery but they did not have tabs on them so I also bought little sticky tabs and stuck them where I wanted the tabs to go.  My five dividers are as follows: Calendar, To Do, Notes, Lesson Plans, and Blog.  All pretty self explanatory :o)

Here are the links to the calendar sheets.  I'm sorry I couldn't get them all on one file, for some reason the computer program was being wonky (yes, wonky) and this was the easiest solution.  You will see there is a very light dotted line going down the center of the page.  That is your cut line.  If you cut along that edge it will cut perfectly in half and fit into your binder.  Now since I'm not patient talented enough to change how my three hole punch lines up, I just put a piece of the notebook paper on top of the calendar and used my single hole punch to create the holes where they needed to be and voila!  It worked out just great!  And much quicker than I anticipated.

January 2013                              May 2013                          September 2013
February 2013                            June 2013                          October 2013
March 2013                                July 2013                           November 2013
April 2013                                  August 2013                      December 2013

If you decide to take on your own mini personal binder I hope you enjoy the creating of it as much as you do the using of it!  If you have pictures of your own personal planners I would love to see them and get more ideas!  Happy organizing y'all!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year's Resolution: 52 Weeks of Pinterest #1

Two years ago my New Year's resolution was to cook a new meal every week and my husband was in heaven!  It was really nice to get away from our everyday ordinary and ever since I have been more willing to try cooking new things just because.  And thank goodness otherwise we're eating spaghetti Monday, taco Tuesday, chicken something Wednesday, left over Thursday, and pizza Friday EVERY week, lol.  Now for some that might be okay but my husband grew up with an amazing cook for a mom so I had to step my game up!

This year my husband has requested the same resolution, but I wanted to put my own twist on it.  My New Year's resolution for 2013 is to create something new from Pinterest every week.  Now I know you're thinking, "Holy cow!  That's going to get pricey."  In reality this will probably be a lot of new recipes we try out but I did want to throw in some DIY and crafty things for the house and classroom.  My first new Pinterest creation was a family organizational binder! (Sorry for the photo quality, had to use my phone for the pictures since my camera battery was dead)

I did this for a number of reasons. 1.)  I just love to organize, lol. 2.) We just began our own family as husband and wife and I wanted to have all of our combined information in one place. 3.)  Ever since the wedding and holidays I have felt very UNORGANIZED and what better way to start the year than getting it all together!

There were hundreds of different blogs with some great ideas on how to organize the binder and really, for me, when it came to deciding what to put in it, it just boiled down to what OUR needs were.  Here are the tabs in our family binder:

Calendar - List of Birthdays and Anniversaries, 2012-2013 Monthly Calendars, and (thank you Martha) Weekly, Monthly, and Seasonal Cleaning Checklists.  I put the cleaning checklists in sheet protectors and use wipe-off markers to check off as I go so I can reuse them.  In the pocket of the divider I place birthday cards just waiting to be sent.

Meal Planning - The Eat Sheet (a weekly menu planner/grocery list), Family Favorites Cards so I can always go back to a crowd pleaser when I can't think of anything else, and menus to our favorite take out and delivery places reside in the divider pocket.

Budget - Annual Bill Schedule (this has to be my favorite because I am forever forgetting if I paid a bill or not) and our family budget.

Contacts - Our Neighbors contact list, Our Family contact list, Our Friends contact list, Medical and Health Insurance contact list, Insurance Policies contact list, Utilities and Services contact list, and Website Usernames and Passwords (these are the sign-ins that if they fell into the wrong hands we would still be okay).

Family Info - Here we have copies of all the essential documents for both me, my husband, and our dog, Bailey.

Emergency - Here we have copies of the cards in our wallets (front and back) in case we should lose them, we now have the numbers to call and cancel our cards, emergency phone numbers (fire department, hospital, etc.), doggie CPR (I know, I know, but she's like my child so why not!)

A big THANK YOU to Ginny from Organizing Homelife for all the wonderful printables and she has many more that I didn't even mention!!!  If you also have the organizing bug and want to make a binder of your own here is what I used:
  • 1" binder (it is enough for the two of us but if you have a growing family you might want larger)
  • 8 pocket tabs (I have two left over)
  • large zippered pencil pocket
  • sheet protectors

Simple as that!  If you have created your own Family Organization Binder I would love to see it!  Of course this project has led me to create my own personal mini binder and that will be my next post :o)