Saturday, January 28, 2012

Taking the Plunge!

This year, I'm participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge at the Lake of the Ozarks!

The charity event supports Special Olympic athletes across the state. I am so excited to be part of this event to support athletes in my area!

I've been blown away by the tremendous amount of support I've received so far.  If you wish to support the School of the Osage team, click here. We are hoping to raise over $2,000!

Have you ever taken the plunge?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stretch Your Spine

Last year, I stumbled upon 100 Scope Notes and their post about "Book Spine Poetry". The entire post was a collection of some of the best poems from the year. It's a creative take on the world of poetry.

Since my students are working hard to write poetry from their (soon to be published) hardback poetry books, I decided to throw them a little challenge and create poems from books in our classroom library.

Confused? Here's an example:

Prior to starting, I showed my kiddos the webpage full of poems. We talked how the poem's seem to revolve around a central theme and idea. I challenged my students to search our classroom high and low to put together spines of books and create a little poem of their own! I was blown away by some of their creations. Their creativity and imaginations were fantastic!

Not only were they thinking about theme, but they were also finding books upon books that haven't been discovered this year (including nonfiction!!). Plus, it didn't hurt that they had a lot of fun. The perfect activity after a weekly test.

Here's a few more that will make you giggle, think, and smile:

Happy weekend friends!

Monday, January 23, 2012


I've never really been creative enough to throw ingredients together and whip up something grand. Now, before I continue with  my "creation", I will warn you: a four year old could do this. I definitely don't deserve a medal for my little kitchen creation.

I peaked in my fridge and three things that stuck out to me: crescent rolls, cheese, and salsa. Why not put them all together? So I did. Like I said, this post is dedicated to the younger demographic.

Let me back up. I mentioned finding some salsa in my fridge. Yes, recently I purchased a jar of salsa from a restaurant down here at the lake. There may be more Mexicali Blues floating around the world, but to me.. it's local!

Please examine this jar carefully. Notice the "HOT" and "XXX"? Yeah, ME TOO. As I was banging the jar of salsa on the counter and twisting with all my might to get the lid off... I read the jar carefully. I gave a shriek and put that salsa away ASAP. I am what you might call a "weenie" when it comes to spicy food.  Actually, I'm more than a weenie. I'm a wuss/weenie/little baby/chicken when it comes to spicy foods. I stick to normally-flavored foods that don't make my lips and mouth want to fall off and run away.

Thankfully, I had another jar of salsa hibernating in my pantry. After that unfortunate salsa "episode", I rolled out my crescent rolls, sprinkled them with colby jack cheese, threw in some frozen corn for good measure, and doused them with salsa. I'm sure Martha Stewart is calling me as we speak and I'll be guest starring on "The Chew" in no time.

I Picked the Pretty Ones to Photograph

After about 13 minutes in the oven, I pulled out my little crescent delights and parked myself on the couch for a fine feast.

Not too shabby for a Monday night.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Spectacular Wednesday

Guess what? It's almost Friday. Just wanted to throw that in there in case you forgot.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with my book club to discuss "Killing Lincoln". I usually don't read many historical books, but I highly recommend picking up this thriller! It tells the fascinating story of President Lincoln's assassination in the spring of 1864. The book definitely keeps you on your toes and begs for you to turn each page. 

Anytime I'm involved of a gathering of some kind, I always bring a dish to share. I can't help it! It gives me an excuse to test out recipes and cook a little. Usually, it's a dish I've never tried before others get to be my test-subjects. Thanks to Pinterest (as always), I found an appetizer that is a definite crowd pleaser. I brought the leftovers to school today and this was the end result:

I had to stop myself from licking the bowl clean. Needless to say, I believe I've found one dish to contribute to a superbowl par-tay. 

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded/grated
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 2 ounces pepperoni, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons green pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, sliced
  1. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano and spread it across the bottom of a pie plate.

    Click here to read the rest of Kevin's recipe from Closet Cooking

After snacking and chatting about Lincoln, we decided on our Jan-Feb book pick. We decided on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Have you ever read it? I'm really looking forward to it! I wish the Amazon storks would drop it off sooner than Monday. 

Before I scoot to my laundry... I have a fun announcement to make! A friend and I have decided to participate in the Lake of the Ozarks Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics! If you want more information on how YOU can help out, leave me a comment!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

(I'm not really good at being silent and/or wordless. So I'm writing everything in parentheses. Pretend, if you will, that I'm whispering to you. This is a strategy I learned from my kids. If I'm whispering when I'm told not to talk then it's practically the same thing, right? Anyway, back on track here! This was the view that lit up my house while the sun was setting tonight. Stunning.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Name That Organism!

Lions! Tigers! Bears! Oh my. 

Let me try that again... Vertebrates! Invertebrates! Dichotomous keys! Oh my. 

Classifying organisms is all the rage in my classroom right now. After much discussion on vertebrates and invertebrates we took a day to dive into Dichotomous Keys. My google search bar has been running a marathon lately with the amount of searches I've done on this unit. While searching one day, I found this link to a "Donut Sort" for dichotomous keys.  Anything that involves food perks my interest pretty quick! 

Basically, groups of students are given six "unknown" donuts and must create their own key to identify each donut. I thought this sounded like a great idea! Then, I went to the grocery store and realized that I  don't even know six different types of donuts. After a few minutes of thinking wayyyyy too hard about donuts, I decided on "snacks". I gathered a few common snacks: wheat thins, cheez-its, goldfish, etc. 

After a few trial runs with dichotomous keys, I gave each group six ziplock baggies with unidentified organisms. In small groups, they had to classify their snacks based on their properties. 

No, those are not Cheez-Its!
Their goal was to create a key and identify each "organism" in the baggies. I gave little direction and let each group go for it! It was interesting to see how different groups tackled the project. Not only were the students collaborating and communicating with one another but they were talking about science!

After groups finished, I let each group present their individual keys on the SmartBoard. The end results were pretty spectacular across the board. All three classes approached it differently and each one was successful. Win win! 

Handy Dandy Textbooks and Science Notebooks
Now, before I hit the sack (yes, at 9:00 PM) a little motivation for your Wednesday.

You Said It, Mr. Mandela. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


Is it pizza? Is it lasagna? Very confusing, I know.  My taste buds were very conflicted while I was mixing ricotta cheese, mozz, parmesan, and italian sausage AND spreading it on a flatbread in a pizza-like fashion.

I kept repeating to myself.. I'm making lasagna. I'm making lasagna, etc.

Whether you classify this recipe as pizza or lasagna, it's definitely a must-try. It was definitely enjoyed on my end with a rousing head to head match of Scene It.

This recipe comes courtesy of Plain Chicken. I've used other recipes from Stephanie's site before. It's a great one to follow!!

Lasagna Flatbread Plain Chicken

15 oz ricotta cheese (can use cottage cheese)
8 oz shredded mozzarella, divided
3 oz parmesan cheese
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 egg
1 lb sausage or hamburger
1/2 (26oz) jar marinara sauce
6 flatbreads

Preheat oven to 375.  click here to read the rest of Steph's recipe! 

In other news, I just bought the most adorable Valentine's Day cards from Rifle Paper Co

Maybe you'll be one of my lucky snail mail recipients? Happy MLK Jr. Day! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gooey Thursday

Yesterday, I wrote a nice little poem wishing that we wouldn't have a snow day and apparently my poems and door decor have reverse affects. So, that means I'm sitting on my couch watching Hoda and Kathy Lee updating my blog on a Thursday morning.  I was supposed to be teaching my kiddos about animal life cycles, but I got a nice little phone call at 6:00 that said, "Stay in bed, Ms. Furnell." Just kidding, it didn't sound exactly like that. 

I'll be staying indoors today!
This weekend, I experimented with a couple of yummy recipes. Since I've got time to burn today (and laundry to fold ..yuck!) I'll be doing a few posts to catch up on lost time!

Prior to college, I had never had the infamous "Gooey Butter Cake". If you're a native of the St. Louis area, you probably want to slap me. Why did it take me so long to find out about this cake? Don't ask me! My good friend Ali took it upon herself to introduce me to Gooey Butter Cake on my 20th birthday and there was no looking back.

Merriment Design posted an easy to follow guide to making your own batch of Gooey Butter Cookies.

Gooey Butter Cookies
What You Need:

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package of yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Now click here to follow Merriment's post to make your own yummy batch! I highly recommend eating them as soon as they come out of the oven with a glass of milk.

Who wants to take bets on whether or not we have school tomorrow?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Chef In Training is one of my favorite blogs because it's packed full of recipes for every meal and occasion. Plus, all of her ideas are practical. Winnnnning. To start off my work week, after a stellar Christmas break, I cracked open the crock pot this morning at 6:45 AM. Yes, I slept in a tad...

My Tuesday evening consisted of lime chicken tacos, lesson planning, and a little How I Met Your Mother. Now, I'm desperately trying not to get sucked into The Biggest Loser. I'm sure you can imagine how this will turn out. I might as well change the settings on my DVR.

Notice the Mizzou cup? Good. Go Tigers!

Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 12 fat-free flour tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce, optional
Place the chicken in a 3-qt. slow cooker.  Combine lime juice and chili powder; pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is done and tender.

Remove the chicken; cool slightly.  Shred and return to slow cooker.  Stir in corn and salsa.  Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until heated through.  Serve in tortillas with sour cream, cheese and lettuce if desired.

The kiddos come back tomorrow! I can't wait to see their little faces. Now excuse me, I must grab my box of tissues to wipe the tear and snot from my face from this stinkin' TV show. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bring it On 2012!

If you've been a follower of my blog for very long, you'll know that I cannot sew. This isn't one of those situations where I'm just saying I can't sew and then whip up a new set of curtains and a fuzzy sweater. No, I legitimately cannot sew. It's been my crafting Achilles heel for 23 long years. 

You can imagine my surprise when I unwrapped this beauty on Christmas Day! I am so excited to expand my crafting to the wide world of sewing. 

Now, first things first. I must learn how to sew. 
Sounds simple enough, right? Since I can't sew and I'm terrified of taking my brand spankin' new sewing machine out of the box, I'll settle for my sewing wish list.

1. Pillows, pillows, and more pillows.

E Tells Tales
2. Curtains. I'm fortunate enough to have several windows all over my house and right now they're naked. They need some curtain love.

3. Bunting. I've mastered the non-sewing version of bunting, but I want to be a master of the needle and thread sorts.

Apartment Therapy
4. Did I mention pillows?

Infarrantly Creative
I think I should quit while I'm ahead. Now, I must get back to a very urgent matter. I'm right in the middle of disc one of season six of How I Met Your Mother.

Happy 2012!

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