Friday, December 14, 2012

A Day of Sorrow.

Today, in my home town a tragedy occurred.  As all of you know, Newtown, Connecticut was devastated today when a gunman opened fire and took the lives of numerous people, many of them children.

I grew up in Newtown, CT.  It has been my home since I was 6 months old. I attended Sandy Hook Elementary as a Kindergartner.  It is a place where I could walk down the street as a child and feel safe.  It is the place I plan on raising my own kids.  It is a community I know and love. And today someone walked in and destroyed that within minutes.

In this time of sorrow, there are no words that can take away our pain and hurt.  However, Newtown is a place where everyone supports one another.  We know and love each other.  And while these horrific events have torn us apart today, we will come together as a community, as we always do, and we will recover.  We will walk together, hand in hand, as we begin to heal.  We will hold up the parents and loved ones of the victims when they are not able to stand.

We will pull together and we will heal.

One day, we will live in a world where our children can go to school safely and where our loved ones are not torn away from us by acts of violence.

Love you Newtown <3

"So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.
Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain." - President Barack Obama

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thriftable Thursday!

My Thriftable Thursday this week is an awesome find! Let me tell you the story behind this before I get to the actual purchase itself.

For quite some time I've wanted a pair of cowboy boots. They are super cute and honestly, when I go line dancing, I just feel a little ridiculous in my converse.  My problem was how much it would cost me to purchase a pair of cowboy boots.  Seriously, do you know how much they cost?  Who can spend that much on a pair of boots?  Certainly not this frugal girl.

I searched and searched for a pair of cheap boots that were still high quality and I had no luck at all.  So I finally broke down and just asked for a pair for Christmas and Santa spent a small fortune buying me this awesome pair of slouch leather cowboy boots.  I won't deny it, they're pretty freaking amazing.  They are super comfortable, they have a nice low heal so I'm not towering over my husband (who is the same height as me) and I can wear them for hours and hours of dancing when I want to.  But again, this came at a significant cost to poor old Santa.

You know that find what you're looking for when you stop looking?  It's true. I went about my life with my new best friends on my feet and just five short months later I came across these at a Goodwill.

They were a size 6, sturdy, REAL cowboys boots and wouldn't you know it, they were 18 bucks!  I stood there debating whether or not I should buy them because I already had a perfectly good pair, but really they were mine the minute I picked those babies up off the shelf.

I rationalized it by telling myself that it's worth it as long as I get use out of both pairs.  And I do. Even though they are both brown they're quite different from each other in the way they are built so I'm able to pair them with different outfits.  

I find boots to be one of my favorite thriftable items because in stores they are usually expensive.  It's hard to get a good deal on a pair of boots unless you luck out and find a pair on clearance.  So I always check the shoe section of a thrift store just to make sure there's nothing I can't live without!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Those Wedding Leftovers! Part I

Happy 12/12/12! Now that you know a little bit about Thanksmas, I'd like to show off some of the new things we tried out this year including place settings and some fun DIY (and recycled!) holiday decorations.

After having my roommates wedding last year and our wedding this year we had quite a bit of stuff leftover.  Things like extra centerpiece vases, small votive candles, votive holders..stuff like that.  There's really only two things you can do when you have wedding leftovers - give them away or reuse them.  Being the thrifty people that we are we, of course, chose to reuse them.

One of the things we knew we wanted to use was our leftover centerpiece vases since we each had a few of them.  And because they are vases they are a pretty easy thing to reuse as, well, just plain old vases.  But where's the fun in that? So in the holiday spirit we made them into these fantastic holiday decorations and centerpieces for our Thanksmas dinner.

The best part about these is that they look great, they were inexpensive (since we already had the vases) and they were easy to make.

We started by buying a giant bin of ornaments from Stop & Shop for $8. You can probably get them cheaper at The Christmas Tree Shop or even the Dollar Store but we were on a schedule. For our tall skinny vases we chose a nice pattern of red, green and gold ornaments and made both of them the same.  These became decorations at our holiday bar.

For the fatter vases we just did red and gold because we used them as centerpieces on top of a  green tablecloth.  To make them we just piled the ornaments in there, dispersing the gold among the red as evenly as possible.

5 minutes - Done.  We have beautiful holiday decor and centerpieces and they cost us no more than $8.  This is a great project for leftovers!

If you want to try this out but you don't have leftover vases I would suggest checking out the dollar store.  I know they had some similar vases to this when I was looking for wedding centerpieces.  I also suggest, as always, checking out your local thrift store.  You'd be amazed what you might find!

Keep an eye out for posts on some of the other fun stuff we tried out at Thanksmas this year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Every year in my house we have a little dinner party with all of our friends.  This dinner party has come to be known as Thanksmas.  This being because we have it right in between Thanksgiving and Christmas and we have a huge Thanksgiving-like dinner. This year we had 15 people at our house and let me tell you, it was quite the challenge.

Our house is not very big and it seems even smaller when you cram 2 tables, 15 chairs, 15 people, 2 dogs and a Christmas tree into it.  But we made it work, it was awesome and everyone had a great time!

So, today I wanted to share some photos from this awesome event and also give you a little update on my Ice Cream Sandwich Cake, which you can find my recipe for, here. This cake was fan-freaking-tastic.  Everyone loved it.  Here's some photos of how it came out.

My wonderful hubby serving it up!

This cake was so easy to make and it looks really beautiful when it's all done (please ignore my ugly throw away tray.  All of our other good dishes were being used for dinner.  Plus using a throw away meant no cleanup!)

When it's all sliced up it looks just as pretty!

As you can see by Ms. M scraping the tray clean, it was quite the hit.  Super easy, delicious and it looks store bought?  How can you lose?

Here are few little updates for the recipe I posted the other day.
  • I got 24 ice cream sandwiches and used about 14 for my 10 X 10 container.  
  • I also got 2 of the small (16 oz.) containers of Cool Whip to use and it was the perfect amount.  
  • And did you know that in the baking section of the grocery store they have bags of crushed Heath Bar specifically for this kind of stuff?  My husband found it on the search for Heath Bars (because they can be quite hard to find) and I was able to use it instead of crushing them all myself!  I call that a win.

So, if you're planning on trying this recipe take those amounts into consideration and adjust accordingly for whatever size cake you are making.  And now, here are some of my favorite photos from this years Thanksmas!

Beautiful Holiday Garland

The table ready for everyone to eat!

More Garland - This may be my favorite holiday decoration

Stockings hung by the chimney with care

Place settings!

Ready to Party.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Walkin' In a Winter Wonderland.

I love the holidays.  I love snow. I love hot cocoa and snow days and icicles....I LOVE winter and everything about it.  So I wanted to share a bulletin board I just put up for the month of December.

This is a great lesson that can be adjusted based on the level of the students.  I do this with all my 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders and I'm able to differentiate it enough to fit all of them. So here's how it came out:

Unfortunately the picture doesn't really do it justice so I've thrown in some close ups too.  The individual snowflakes turn out super cute!  The base lesson I use with all of my students is about nouns, proper nouns, adjectives and verbs.

For my third graders, I strictly stick to nouns and adjectives. We start by brainstorming winter words that are nouns.  Then they pick their favorite winter noun off our brainstorm and they think of four adjectives to describe that noun.  I have them cut out a snowflake and write their winter noun in the center.  Then they write all the adjectives they came up with on the arms of the snowflake.  We throw some glitter on it and there you have it!  A beautiful, nouny and descriptive snowflake!

I make it a little different for my fourth graders by making them identify whether the words are verbs, nouns or proper nouns as we brainstorm.  They also have to think of more words to describe the noun they choose for their snowflake.

My fifth graders do the entire brainstorm and then choose two winter words to work with.  Those become main topics for them in a writing piece about winter.  They write about why they like those things and what they can do with them.  It's a pretty great lesson overall because we're talking about parts of the English language, the seasons and doing some writing.  All things that my students need constant reminders for!  And you get a pretty bulletin board out of it. Love it!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Favorites Four Friday.

It's Friday again and that means I've been working towards meeting my goal of trying one new thing per week.  Here are my Favorites Four Friday this week!

Numero Uno

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake.  Need I say more? I thought not.  Here's what you do...

You'll need...
Ice cream sandwiches
Cool Whip
Heath bars - crushed
Caramel and chocolate drizzle (the kind in the squeeze bottle)

Using a deep Pyrex dish (or any deep dish that can go in the freezer) lay down a layer of ice cream sandwiches.  Spread a thick layer of cool whip on top of the ice cream sandwiches.  Drizzle the caramel and chocolate and then sprinkle the crushed Heath bar on top.  Repeat the entire process and place it in the freezer overnight. When the entire cake is frozen it's ready to serve.  It looks beautiful when it's all cut up because of all the layers! And it's delicious!

Numero Dos

Our wedding photos are in! Our photographer did a fantastic job, which is no surprise because she's super talented.  It's part of the reason we picked her.  Here's one of my favorites...(I can't really choose just one favorite!)

Numero Tres

In the spirit of the holidays, my favorite Christmas song this week is Jingle Bells by Michael Buble.  I love the fact that it sounds like an old 40's song and it's a ton of fun. In fact, his whole Christmas album is pretty awesome and I'm not a particularly big fan of him in general. Check it out if you haven't given it a listen!

Numero Quatro

I'm gonna go ahead and say that my favorite person in the whole wide world this week is my husband.  Although, this is true every week so it's not really saying much but I just felt like I needed to give him an extra shout out.  He always knows how to make me smile :)

Happy Weekending!

Friday Letters.

It's time for Friday letters, which is awesome because it means, obviously, that it's FRIDAY!!! This week I've been thinking it's Friday everyday since Tuesday.  Needless to say, I'm pretty happy it's actually here.  I've been MIA a little this week but I do have some really awesome things to post about as a result. So be on the look out! Ok, without furhter ado, here's my Friday Letters.

Dear Winter, It's your friend Stacy. I'd like to point out that I am one of the few people who doesn't mind you.  In fact, I quite enjoy you.  With that, I'd like to request that you please make a decision as to whether or not you're here to stay. It would be much appreciated.  Dear Mother Nature, I know you're very old at this point but you signed up for the job.  Figure it out.  Dear Nurse That Did my Blood Work Yesterday, you have a job that requires you to work closely with other human beings, so I might suggest that you take a class in communication or being warm and fuzzy.  I'm sure they offer that, right? Dear Students, I may have gotten married but it does not mean I will be having a baby anytime soon.  Please stop asking. Dear Wedding Photographer, thank you, thank you, thank you!  Your pictures are awesome.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thriftable Thursday!

It's Thursday and that means two things are happening.

Tomorrow is Friday!! Woo!

It's Thriftable Thursday. Woo Hoo!!

Today I'm highlighting something I'm very proud of and it's ever-growing.  I'm constantly adding to this thriftable whenever I can. I'm not the only one who benefits from it either.  My students love this thriftable and other teachers in my school often ask to borrow it.  So? Have you guessed what it is yet?

It's my classroom library! I've built my classroom library slowly but surely over the last 4 years.  When I got out of college I knew I wanted a big library available to my students, so I started buying books from book fairs, Barnes and Noble and Borders.  Needless to say I was spending a small fortune and I wanted to find a way to buy lots of books and not go broke.

My home town has a huge book sale every year where everyone in town donates their unwanted books and the library organizes it like a book tag sale.  One year I was looking through all the books and it hit me - buy used books!  Duh!

I started looking everywhere for good deals on books.  I researched paper back exchanges in my area (who knew there were so many in existence!), I hit up every town book sale I could find and I found stores that sell the good books for cheap.  For example, The Christmas Tree Shop sells Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones for 2 bucks each!  Big thrift stores like Goodwill and Savers are really good too. 

I've added and added over time and I have close to 400 books in my collection. I let my kids check them out by signing them out of my lending library binder.  Here's a look at my sign out form:

The kids are responsible for signing out with the title of the book, their name and the date.  Then when they bring it back they write the sign in date and I check it off.

And because my kids know they are my books and I'm letting them borrow them, they are super careful with them.  They take extra care to make sure they come back and are still in good condition.  In four years, I've only had a few books get lost. Which I think is a pretty good record.

If you decide you want to build up your classroom library and want to check out some of these resources my favorites are the thrift stores and the book sales.  At book sales I find a lot of groups of books because so many people are donating and they all tend to have the same books.  Popular books like Magic Tree House have tons of copies available, which is awesome because I can get enough copies to use them with a reading group.  But beware....the popular ones go really fast so get there early!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Desk Declutterization (it's definitely a word).

I'm always, and I mean ALWAYS trying to find new and better ways to organize my classroom. I think most teachers are.  So today I wanted to share something little that I do to keep my classroom organized.

One of my pet peeves in the classroom is a cluttered desk.  If you're a teacher, you know it doesn't take long for a desk to get that way.  Just a day or two of papers piling up can become a nightmare.  So the other day, as I was on the hunt for a new organizational solution, I had an idea.  My desk gets cluttered mainly because of extra copies or worksheets I never get to.  Usually, I file these things in the filing cabinet under their appropriate heading but sometimes it takes a while until I have a minute to put everything away.

So, I made a folder for each of the grade levels I work with and the two main subjects I see them for, Language Arts and Math.  I color coded them and everything!

Then, I simply stuck them to the wall behind my desk with some Elmer's Tac N' Stik and BAM! I have folders to organize all my worksheets until I have a minute to file them.  Such a simple solution!  It took me less than 20 minutes to assemble and I used oaktag to make these make-shift folders rather than use my good ones or spend money on new ones.

Here's a shot of my desk before and after:

Before                                    After 
One of the best things about this method is sometimes I don't get to a worksheet with one of my groups and usually it would just end up sitting on my desk until I got to it.  Now, I can put it in the corresponding folder until my group is ready to do it, I know exactly where it is when I'm ready for it and I've got a nice clean desk in the meantime! Also, because I posted them on the wall behind my desk and under my chalkboard they don't take up any physical space in my room. It just takes away some wall space and clearly, it wasn't wall space that I was using.

Just thought I would share this epiphany incase anyone is looking for a desk de-cluttering solution! Happy Organizing!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Favorites Four Friday.

I've come up with a new goal in life to try something new on a weekly basis.  It happened a few weeks ago when I went a little crazy pinning some stuff on Pinterest and wanted to try about 10 new recipes all at the same time. And I thought to myself, 'hmmm I really should try stuff more often.' My husband is always telling me how I'm stuck in my routine and don't like to try new things, blah, blah, blah. But it's completely true.

I. Love. My. Routine.  

Really, when I think about it, it is healthy to try new things, branch out and explore.  So I'm going to try it and watch my life improve before my eyes!

So, every Friday I'm going to highlight my four favorite things from the week, at least one of which will be a brand new thing that I have never tried before.  The others may just be some of my absolutely favorite things that made me smile that week.

I'm thinking this will be informative for readers - like if I share a new recipe or something - and it will also make me try something new and different every week!

So here's my first ever, Favorites Four Friday! Enjoy!

Numero Uno:

New educational term - I'm sure it's going to be hitting the professional development scene any day now - Snack Hands.  As in "Michael, please don't put your snack hands near the computer" or "Sarah, touching other people with your snack hands is rude."

My Special Education partner-in-crime actually coined this one just the other day so I can't take credit. She said it without even thinking about it and I literally laughed out loud on the other side of the room.  Unfortunately my kids are too old to eat snack, so it will be a rare occasion when I can use this baby.  But you can trust I'll find a way to work it in as often as possible.

Numero Dos:

It's clementine time!  I love this time of year because I eat clementines all the way through the winter.  I got my first box just last week and I was happy as a clam!

Numero Tres:

Christmas music is back on!  My favorite this week is Deck the Halls (Welsh Ayre) by Mannheim Steamroller.  Admittedly, I've been on a kick with this song for about four years now.  I grew up with Mannheim but it wasn't until the past four years that this song really hit me.  It just knows the right way to get me pumped up for the holidays!

Finally, Numero Quatro:

Favorite new craftable: christmas aprons! They are in the works now and will be hitting the blog within the next week.   I'm excited to see how they turn out!

What were your Favorites Four Friday this week? I'd love to hear.

Friday Letters.

I've seen a lot of bloggers doing Friday letters and I love the idea!  So I've decided to go ahead and give it a shot! Here goes nothin'.....

Dear Husband, I love you more and more everyday. You make me so happy and I couldn't be happier to be your wife.  Dear Orion, believe it or not, we actually do notice when you jump on the bed at 4 o'clock in the morning and I would just like to say that you are still not allowed on the bed at that time.  Dear Sirius, you're perfect in every way - just kidding - please stop barking at every noise you hear.  It gives me a serious headache (ha! pun intended).  Dear Christmas, I love you.  Please get here faster.  Dear Snow Storm from Tuesday, what was that?  You call that a snow storm? Try harder next time. Dear Family, I can't wait to spend time with you this weekend being full of holiday cheer. Dear Clementines, how come sometimes you have seeds and other times you don't? Dear Students, sometimes you make me want to pull my hair out but you also make me smile on a daily basis and I'm happy you're in my life.

That's it for this week!  Happy weekending everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thriftable Thursday!

It's Thursday and that means it time to share some siriusly thriftable stuff.  This week I'm showing off one of my all time favorite thrift store purchases.  It's a white knit slouchy hat.  Here's a shot:

I love this hat!  I bought this a Goodwill for just $1.  Yup, you heard me right.  ONE DOLLAR.  I know what you're thinking - hat shopping at a thrift store? Gross.  People can have lice and dandruff and who knows how often they cleaned their hair - but this hat was brand new.  Never worn.  Which makes the fact that I paid just a buck for it that much more amazing.

So this is what happened.  Several of the Goodwills in my area often have Target products in their stores.  I did a little research on this and found out that Goodwill will buys from Target's salvage materials. The salvage materials are things that are damaged, had the box open or the left over clearance items they can't sell.  Needless to say, this stuff is all brand new and perfectly useful.  I've spotted a ton of Merona (a Target brand) stuff in my area and I come across other Target brands every now and then.

Anyway, when I got my hat I was looking through a giant bin at Goodwill full of target items.  This is one downside to thrifting - you really have to be willing to dig.  So, I was digging and digging and I stumbled upon this hat.  I had been looking for a slouchy hat for a while and hadn't had much luck so I grabbed it right up and tried it on.

It was love at first sight but I had one problem.  The Goodwill tag said it was $6.  Sadly, that's a lot for me to pay for a hat, especially when it's from Goodwill.  But it didn't matter.  I had already made up my mind that I was getting it.  I couldn't part with it.  Then, a true miracle occurred - I went to the register to check out and my hat rang out at $1.  I was over the moon excited.

I've worn this hat countless times and I get tons of compliments on it.  People ask me all the time where I got it and I tell the truth as well as how much I paid for it.  I LOVE to see how people react when I tell them I only paid a dollar for it.

So, that's my thriftable Thursday this week.  My $1 slouchy hat from Goodwill, brand new originally from Target.  I'd call that a thrifting win.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh, Kohls, How You Make My Christmas Merry.

I got word today from a reliable resource that Kohl's was having a 50% off sale. I checked the flier and it was true! Normally, this wouldn't excite me all that much because 50% off is still too expensive for this cheap girl but we happened to have tons of Kohl's cash from black friday shopping.

Needless to say we were out the door after reading the flier in less than 5 minutes.  So here's what we ended up with:

Shopping Haul!

Jeremie only got 2 pairs of pants because none of his items were clearance.  I was able to get 6 shirts, a dress and a pair of slippers.  And do you wanna guess how much we spent?  17 dollars!!! I added it up when we got home just for haha's and we would have spent over $400 if we purchased everything at full price.  But thanks to some Kohl's cash, a 50% off sale and a 20% off coupon we spent less than 20 bucks!

After thrifting, Kohl's would be my next stop shop.  Mainly because you can get some awesome deals. The thing is, you can't go in and go straight to the full price items (Jeremie).  You have to go to the clearance rack first.  I got 4 items tonight that were less than $4 each.  

Kohl's really understands me.  They know the perfect way to start off the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thrifting is the Name of the Game.

I've been thrifting for a while now.  So much so that it's become a verb to me.  It's something that I go out to do, usually with my thrifting partner in crime, Courtney. It's truly become an art form and we've become pretty darn good at it.  We've actually had the cashiers at some stores comment on the awesome finds we've picked up.  But where did the love of thrifting begin?

It was in college, but we never went and took it seriously in college.  We were usually in the thrift shop around Halloween or if we were having a theme party like this:

Beauty and the Geek Party - Clothing brought to you by Goodwill

In college, we were too cool to think that thrifting could be beneficial and that we could get tons of great clothing.  No, it wasn't until after college, when we were truly poor that we began taking it seriously.  Soon we were hitting up Goodwill and Savers like nobody's business.  On top of it, we were stopping at random thrift stores we came across to see what they had available.

And then it got really serious.  We weren't just going to thrift stores for clothes anymore.  We were looking for shoes, purses, furniture and whatever else we could find.  It's gotten to the point where I usually check a thrift store if I'm looking for something before I go to Target or the mall.

Now it's a way of life.  I would say between 50 and 75% of my wardrobe is from thrift shopping and I get tons of compliments on the stuff I've gotten.  There's never a time when I say that I got something at a thrift store and people aren't surprised.

So, why do I think that thrifting should be about 75% of your regular shopping? This is why:

All the clothes you see here, I got in one thrifting trip and I spent less than $60.  To be honest, I only ended up spending that much because I tend to have expensive taste (which is awful when you're a super cheap person).  I always pick up the 7 and 8 dollar sweaters in the thrift shop while Court happily wanders around picking up everything that is 2 and 3 dollars.  I dunno how I do it, but it never fails.  Hopefully this isn't the story for you. 

I know $60 might sound like a lot but let me break this down for you (I know the picture might be hard to see).  I purchased three shirts, a sweater, a cardigan, 2 pairs of pants, a belt and 2 scarves - 10 items - for $60!  How can you beat it?  I'm gonna go ahead and throw some designers out there, too.  The blue collared shirt you see here is American Eagle as well as the tan corduroys.  The pink sweater is J. Crew and it's awesome!  And as you can see it's all high quality stuff. Lot's of people have this picture in their head that thrift store items are crap, but look at this stuff.  It's great!

This is why you should thrift more often.
You get twice as many items as you would get at a regular store for the same price.

Seriously, I can buy 10 things at Savers for $60. That's 6 bucks an item!  How many things can you get in a department store for that much?

It's recycling!

You don't want your old clothes anymore?  Send them to a thrift shop.  If you throw them out, they are going directly to the land fill.  The last thing we need is more stuff going into our landfills.  The clothes that are old and boring to you are new and exciting to somebody else.  There's no need to throw them away.  Recycle your old clothes and buy recycled clothes! 

It's guilt-free shopping

I am cheap - with a capital C.  There's no way around it.  I just don't like to spend money on stuff, especially when I don't really need it.  So when it comes to clothing I feel really guilty because if you saw my closet you would know that I just don't need anymore clothing.  But I WANT more clothes....all the time.  When I'm thrifting, I know I'm spending just a small percentage of the amount I would pay in a regular store and I'm helping the environment in a small way.  I also know that when I buy something and only like it for a year or two it's not a big deal.  I only paid $4 for something, so when I don't particularly like it in a year's time, I don't feel awful about packing it up and sending it back to the thrift store. 

So, the moral of my story is, try thrifting.  You don't have to be crazy about it like I am, but just try it once.  It's cheap, it's evironmentally friendly, it's guilt-free and it'll make you feel great!  You just wait until the first time someone says "I love your sweater" and you say "Thanks, I got it for $2."  No joke, there's no feeling like it!

I'll be doing periodic posts about my favorite thriftables and some of my thrifting hauls over time!  Keep an eye out.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Comfy Craftable Outfit - Black Friday Win.

Man, there's nothing I love more than sitting around on a chilly Sunday in a super comfy, super cute outfit working on some DIY stuff.  And when I say comfy, I mean siriusly comfy.

Leg warmers - check.  Leggings - check.  Ski socks so soft you feel like you're walking on clouds - check.  Soft, warm hoodie - check.  And done, outfit complete!  Sadly, nothing I'm wearing today was from a thrift store so I have no thriftables to share with you.  However, I did get a super sweet deal on my hoodie.

As many of you know, there's not a whole lot I won't do for a good deal. This includes waiting weeks, sometimes months for an item to be marked down or put on the clearance rack.  Even if waiting means there's a chance I won't ever get that item, I will generally take the risk.

I will EVEN venture out on Black Friday to score some awesome deals. Yes, you heard me correctly.  I was one of the crazies that was out on Friday.  And not only was I out, I braved the mall to get my hands on this hoodie.

That being said, I've had my eye on this hoodie for about a month and a half now.  It got to the point where I was just going to put it on my Christmas list because American Eagle does not have the greatest track record with their clearance.  It seems like most of their stuff gets sold while it's on the shelf and therefore, never makes it to the clearance rack.  Great for them - bad for Stacy.

I try not to shop for myself on Black Friday because it's really about getting a jump start on your Christmas shopping.  But I got the call that American Eagle was 40% in store and online and I just had to go.  You all know how the story ends since I'm clearly wearing the hoodie. I got it and it's amazing!  Even with the discount it was still over $20 which I would usually cringe at.  But when I've had my eye on something that long I know it's worth it.  Plus, isn't that the best way to do Christmas shopping anyway?  Pick up one gift for them, pick up one gift for yourself?  No? Just me?

Well, let me tell you, next time you're doing some siriusly craftable stuff or some DIYing, throw on some leg warmers and a hoodie and grab a cup of cocoa.  It makes all the difference.

Happy Sunday!

It's one of THOSE days.

We all have those days.  The day before Christmas break, the full moon days, the days where they announce that there will be an early dismissal due to inclement weather, the, ohmysweetbabyJesus I'm going to pull my hair out days.  It comes with the territory of working in a school or with kids.  And it's the reason we're always looking for new ways to manage our classrooms.

Today, I would like to share something I use to manage groups in my classroom.  I personally think it's the most fantastic classroom management technique ever.  I know everyone has their own things they use; some use the red light, green light, yellow light technique, some use colored cards, marble jars...there's a million different things to choose from.  And here's another:

I call them bracelet jars.  Here's how it works.  I work with special education kids in grades 3-5.  I'm basically a resource room teacher, so I see these kids in small groups throughout the day.  When a group comes into my room, all the students are working together to earn enough bracelets to fill their jar to the line, which I place based on the number of kids in a group.
At the beginning of the year the kids help me form some guidelines for earning bracelets. I work it into our school wide behavior plan where our goals are to be safe, responsible and respectful.  So generally, when my kids are demonstrating these things in my room they can earn a bracelet and they get to wear those bracelets until the end of group. When they are clearly not abiding by these rules, I can take bracelets out of their jar. At the end of each group anyone who earned bracelets places them in the jar.

I usually throw a few extras in there for awesome answers, someone who's having a particularly awesome day or whatever.  I use my judgement but I always make sure the kids know why they are getting them.
Believe me when I say, this has been a miracle worker for me.  Even my toughest kids LOVE earning bracelets.  It becomes a quick (healthy) competition to see who can get the most bracelets. And all I have to do to get my students back on track is mutter these ten little words "should I go take some bracelets out of the jar?" and they snap right back into place.  

Once they reach the line on their jar I usually let the kids vote on what they would like as a reward.  For my third graders  something as simple as picking a prize or getting a pencil usually does the trick.  My fifth graders are a little more challenging but they are always able to come up with great ideas.  
I will admit that it takes some practice at first, especially with the younger ones.  But it truly does work and it's fun for the kids, too.  Unfortunately I can't take full credit for this idea.  The school I did my student teaching in used it as a school wide behavior plan.  They worked to fill an entire fish tank!  Now that's impressive and it really goes to show that this can be modified for anybody to use.  I use it with small groups but give it a try in your classroom by using an In and Out jar.  The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Merry Music Organization

It's officially the season and if you are a musician or a vocalist you know that the holidays can be a stressful time.  I've played the piano for pretty much my entire life and when it comes to Christmas, I am, REQUIRED to play for family and friends - which I don't entirely mind.  I enjoy entertaining people with cheerful piano music and I love to play during the Holiday season.  What I do mind is lugging 8 or 9 piano books all over the place to play a couple of songs out of each one.  It's a pain and sometimes I forget one and then I can't play one of my favorites.

Here's my solution:

 I put this simple little binder together full of all my piano music. Ok, maybe I got a little carried away with it.  But it looks super cheery and festive!

Anyway, I copied every song I play on a regular basis during the holidays and placed them (double sided) into the binder.  I made sure I put them in an order that I could play from start to finish.

So, all my slow songs don't get played at the same time and all my upbeat songs don't get played together.  This is helpful so that my arms don't want to fall off from exhaustion halfway through the book. I also have a few by the same artists and I tried to make sure they were evenly dispersed too.  This way I have a nice mix of holiday music to play.

To do the outside I used our brown paper wrapping paper.  We got a huge roll of it 2 years ago at Home Depot for Christmas and we're still going through it. If you don't have any you can use a paper bag like the good old days when you were covering text books.  Then, I picked out a pretty ribbon (I got this one at JoAnn Fabrics) and made a bow.  I hot glued the paper and the ribbon to the binder so that they don't slide around or come undone.  And voila!  You have yourself a music binder.

Sadly, it's taken me 8 or 9 years of lugging my music all over the place to come up with this but so far I'm pretty happy with the results. If you are a musician who has to play at a bunch of different houses during the holidays, try this out.  It's pretty helpful!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who Goes There?

Hi everyone!  Welcome to my blog!  I want to take a minute or two to introduce myself and let you know what my blog is all about.  My name is Stacy.  I'm not really sure where to start so I suppose I'll start with why I started Craftables.  This is the first time I've ever had a blog but my second attempt at creating a blog - if that makes sense.

My roomate and I had planned to start one a while ago and things just didn't line up.  You know, life gets in the way sometimes.  Basically, I have a lot of hobbies and things that I enjoy doing and I think it would be fun to share with everyone and use this as my creative outlet.  So, I'm going to include a little bit about everything on this thing, including all the craftables that I love to make, my life as a teacher, my love of thrifting and so much more.  I'm always looking for new things to do and try so I'm gonna try and document that as I go.

This is one of our engagement photos by Marisa Pellerin Photography
So, a little more about me.  I just got married to my best friend in the whole world and I've never been happier.  I had a ton of fun planning our wedding and trying out a bunch of DIY things for it.  I will be sure to do some posts on my favorites.  Jeremie and I met in college when he was given to me as a gift at my 21st birthday party.  Yup, a gift.  Like, "happy birthday, stace, we knew most people would bring you some form of alcohol for your 21st birthday so we brought you a new boyfriend instead" - that kind of gift.  We all had a good laugh about it, but six years later and married, who's laughing now? So, we started dating and our life in college was pretty typical.....

Go to class, act ridiculous, go to the library, chill in the dorms, sleep, trip to Walmart for poor college student related items, eat Wendy’s, go to class, sleep, maybe study a little, hang out in the dorm, go to a concert sleep, study some more, sleep, chill, sleep, eat Wendy’s, sleep.  Ugh, I miss those days.

I graduated in 2008 when Jeremie was finishing up his sophomore year.  We were pretty head over heals at this point but we had two long years of living in separate states ahead of us.  We took our relationship seriously from the start, we worked hard at it, put it first and it paid off.  We're newlyweds and we've never been happier.  

Now we're living in our newly-wedded bliss with our two dogs Sirius and Orion (explains a little about the blog's title, huh?).  Right now, our dogs are like our children.  They are a huge priority in our lives so you will be hearing about them quite a bit and hopefully I'll be posting some fun DIY ideas that are centered around them.  

So, that's me in a nutshell.  Hopefully you'll keep reading and find out a little bit more about me and my crazy life in the process! Hope you have fun reading about some of my Siriusly craftable ideas!

My cute pups!  Sirius on the left, Orion on the right licking the left over cookies off his nose!