Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Throughout the school year, my students are always telling me to read this book, and that book, and THIS book... so finally, I've had time to read some of those books. Wahoo!

"Because of Mr. Terupt" was a very popular title in my room and was passed around to many students. It's an incredible story about the connection made between a class and I highly recommend it. 

Last night, I started "The Name of This Book is Secret" because of its popularity in my classroom. It's a unique series and I'm only about 20 pages in, but I'm enjoying it so far. :)

The Name of This Book is a Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

What are you reading, folks?

Linking up with Juice Boxes & Crayolas!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tastes Like California

On our vacation in California earlier this month my bf and I had our first experience with cantaloupe and prosciutto pizza. When we ordered, we didn't really know what to expect we just crossed our fingers and hopped the pizza would turn out tasty. 

Yum. It was the strangest and and one of the most delicious pizzas I've ever had. So different from pizza I'm used to back in Missouri. Since coming home, we were longing for a little taste of Southern California, so we made our very own Cantaloupe and Prosciutto Pizza. :)

You'll Need:

  • Pizza crust (we used Jiffy Pizza Crust Mix)
  • Cantaloupe (sliced thin)
  • Prosciutto (sliced thin)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Basil

Make It:

  • Prepare pie crust as directed on box or package and bake for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add pizza sauce and mozz cheese to pizza crust. 
  • Next, layer prosciutto on top of mozzarella. Hold onto the cantaloupe!
  • Bake your pizza (note: this depends on what type of crust you use/make) for 18-20 minutes at 425 degrees.
  • Top your pizza with cantaloupe and fresh basil. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Disneyland State of Mind

I was born and raised in a world revolving around Walt Disney. Besides the (awesome) fact that Walt himself is a famous Missourian, my family eats sleeps and breathes Disney. I'm almost certain that my blood type is Disney Positive. If you happen to visit my childhood home, you'll find this gem hanging in the hallway to this day. 

My family just wrapped up a vacation out west to Disneyland. Since I've been singing along to my favorite Disney classics all day, I thought it would be a great idea to share my Disneyland recommendations. Before I begin, please remember that these are based on mine and my 4-year old nephew's opinions. Someday I'll post my top picks for a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  A truly magical place that everyone should experience once in their life. :)

My Main Squeeze, July 2013

Fact: There is no age limit in Disneyland. Just ask my 81 year old grandma who dressed up two years ago and went trick or treating there. I'm 25 and still woke up every morning soaking up the magic of Disney. 

The benefit to Disneyland is its size. Compared to Disney World, it's a fraction of the parks in Orlando. We stayed at the Grand Californian which is built right off of Downtown Disney. From our hotel, we had an entrance to California Adventure and easy walking access to Disneyland. For the five days that we were there, we didn't have a car or even leave Disney property. Because of both parks (California Adventure and Disneyland) and Downtown Disney, there was plenty to eat and keep us more than entertained. 

The MUST List For California Adventure:

Cars Land 
I was blown away walking through the brand new Cars Land. I felt like I was walking in the actual town of Radiator Springs. The hot ride is Radiator Spring's racers. While we were there, fast passes would sell out by roughly 11:00 AM. I would get to this ride FIRST or at least get your fast past quickly. My bf and I wanted to ride so we stood in the "Single Rider" line for about 20 minutes opposed to the 120 minute wait in stand by. I even caught myself saying, "Wow! This is cool." outloud... Oops! 

World of Color (show)
Hint: If you dine at Ariel's Grotto (or other restaraunts at the park...) you get a "Preferred Viewing" ticket for the show. We had the best seats in the house and definitely should have packed ponchos. 

Tower of Terror

A virtual simulation ride over California. Feels just like you're in a hang glider!

The MUST List For Disneyland Park:

(Top 3 According to BDE, 4 years old)
Pirates of the Caribbean 

A new addition to the Pirates ride and New Orleans Square is the Blue Bayou restaurant.  The restaurant sits inside the pirates ride and you can see the boats and (sometimes) hear screams as riders plunge into the depths of the world of pirates. Why not dine with the pirates? It was a big hit with our family, plus the food was excellent. 

You can't go wrong with those three attractions, and here are a few of my favorites:

You may be familiar with the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, but this animatronic show focuses on Abraham Lincoln and the entire hall is filled with the history and development of Disneyland. 

Last but not least, a few tips and fun things to do around Disneyland:

Pull (or try to) the sword from the stone.

Visit Mickey and whole gang in Toon Town. You can even walk through Mickey's house!

Visit Disneyland around Halloween. The entire park is transformed into a spooky and autumn scene that is truly magical!

Plus, all of your favorite characters are dressed for the season as well. 

Whew! Well, that's all I've got for today. Share your Disneyland favorites below as well!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thanksgiving in July

This summer, a friend and I decided to tackle some holiday crafting because time always seems to slip away in November and December. Brilliant, right? Right!

I was inspired to make a cute little craft after seeing the adorable blocks my friend made for her husband for Father's Day. I packed my bags and went on a shopping spree in Hobby Lobby to find 4x4 blocks, scrapbook paper, and whatever else inspired me. Sadly, I was only able to find small wooden blocks opposed to the 4x4 size I was hunting for. After realizing the miniature blocks were my only option, I snatched them all up and headed towards the scrapbook paper. 

As I was searching in the scrapbook aisle, I decided to go with a autumn/turkey day theme and settled on the phrase "Give Thanks" to Mod Podge on my blocks. (Imagine me standing in the aisle thinking deeply about what phrase would fit on the ten blocks I picked up. It took some deep thinking.)

To start the project, I used my Cricut to cut out the 2x2 scrapbook paper squares. I glued paper on each block and put about two layers of Mod Podge on top. On the chevron side (as you can see below) I glued my turkey day phrase. As long as you don't look closely, the project looks very cute and crisp. If you begin to look closely, you'll notice I made boo-boos all over the place. Oops!

Next time I tackle another block project, I will paint the blocks before gluing on scrapbook paper. Instead of trying to cover each side in paper, I will rely on paint to make it look fancy. I spent ALL day waiting for these puppies to dry so I could continue working. I managed to get caught up on my DVR recordings though! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monster Basil For Dinner

Earlier this spring I decided that I wanted to grow my own herbs for the summer. So I did! I went and bought some little seedlings, dumped them into a container, and let Mother Nature do her job. Prior to planting the seeds, I had pinned several links about gardening and planting herbs... did I read any of those before dumping the seeds? No, of course not. I really had no idea what I was doing. 

Then, I left for vacation and spent several days away from my house and left my little herbs to survive on their own. When I returned home I was surprised (and shocked!) to see that my basil plant had grown tremendously. I searched around for Jack (and the beanstalk) to make sure he wasn't leaving any magic beans around. 

Tonight, my bf and I decided to make pesto pasta using the magical basil plant that grew in my little garden. It was quite delightful. Below you will find our recipe!

Fresh Basil Pesto Pasta

You'll Need:

1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 clove minced garlic
8 oz penne pasta
1 cup chopped tomatoes

Make It:

  • In food processor (or blender in our case!), combine basil, cheese, oil, pine nuts and garlic and blend until smooth.
  • Toss basil mixture with cooked pasta and tomatoes. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy! :)

Linking up at the Tuesday Talent Show!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Teachers! Share Your Thoughts With Me!

My brain has started spinning into school mode, slowly... but it is certainly starting to spin. I've started lists in my phone, sent myself emails of things to remember when I get back to school, and constantly checked to see if my class list has been posted. I can't be the only one right? 

This afternoon, as I've been enjoying Sleepless in Seattle on E! this afternoon, I started thinking about routines and procedures and specifically signals for my classroom. I use a few different chants to get the attention of my class, but this year I felt bored with my go-to chants. 

Here are a few of mine:


Clapping Patterns (on tables and desks too!)

Holy Moly!

Macaroni and Cheese!
Everybody FREEZE!

I found cute posters and printables of chants on Pinterest, but I'm curious about what YOU are doing in your classroom. What do you do to get the attention of 20+ busy children? What nonverbal and verbal tricks do you use to shift the focus and attention in your room? What is your go to signal? 

Share your secrets with me!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Reading Life Lately

Thanks to this beautiful season called summer and the conclusion of my online summer classes, I've had lots of time to curl up with a good book.. or two.. or three. Earlier this year, I had the honor of listening to Donalyn Miller speak at a conference where I live. She mentioned the power of having a reading community: others you can talk to about books, share ideas, share titles, etc. All of the titles I've read lately are from book club picks or suggestions from friends. How lucky am I? 

Here's a look at a few titles I've read lately. 

The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats was a book club choice and I highly recommend it! Read as Kate, a former C.I.A. agent, begins to unfold secrets about the husband she thought she knew...

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

A friend of mine wrote a riveting review of The Light Between Oceans on Good Reads and I knew I HAD to read it. Now my book club is reading it this month. Grab the tissues... you will need them.

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

I picked The Silent Wife because my Real Simple magazine suggested it would cure my Gone Girl withdrawal. I was foolish to believe this would compare to Flynn's book, but it's still a compelling read about a troubled romance filled with deception.

Tell me folks, what are you reading now-a-days?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Did you know you can embed Padlet (formally Wallwisher) into blogs? Thanks to smart friends, I know this fun feature now too! 

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