One Little Word for 2015

I'm excited to join forces with the Primary Powers' super girls to share my New Year's Resolution. One Word for 2015. Are you ready?
Aside from being Super Mom and Super Teacher, I have a lot of things I want to do: blog, create products, start an Etsy store… except there aren't 57 hours in a day. I can't do it all. So what's most important?

My family.
I posted something on Instagram earlier this week: accept that "good enough" is really good enough. I was surprised and encouraged by the amount of positive feedback I got. Let's be real for a second: we all work our you-know-whats off. I'm not going to bring 4 hours worth of work home every night anymore, and I'm not going to beat myself up for not doing so. I will work as hard as I can when I'm at work, and then I will come home to be with my family.
I don't want my kids to look back at their childhood and remember their mom behind a computer screen.

So, friends, you might not see a whole lot of me on this blog in 2015 (I do post frequently to Instagram though). It's not because I don't want to be here. In fact, I have a list a mile long of blog posts I want to write. I just want to be present with my family more. They're only little for so long. And I'm going to soak up every second.



A Few of My Favorite Recipes

Happy Winter Break, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are relaxing and enjoying your well-deserved time off! One of my favorite things to do during these types of breaks is to discover and try out new recipes. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you!

One thing you need to know about my cooking "style." I can't cook. I'm really good at dumping food into the pan/pot (as you'll soon discover). I like recipes with ingredients I've heard of and that make the fewest number of dirty dishes. We are BIG Green Bay Packers fans in this house, and with the Wisconsin Badgers heading to the Outback Bowl next week, we have a few "go-to" dishes we serve.

We always have some kind of soup cooking on Sundays. The hubs is the master soup maker over here, and while I begged and pleaded for him to share his turkey chili recipe, he insists it stay a secret. Fine. Be that way. Occasionally, he allows me to make my chicken taco soup, and it is SO tasty!
The recipe calls for garlic, but we just buy the pre-minced garlic in a jar instead of the actual cloves. It also calls for half an onion, but if you don't have an onion, onion powder works just fine too. When we make this, we usually buy a rotisserie chicken. You could buy a raw, whole chicken and cook it yourself, but I like to do things the easy way! :) We use the breasts to make something else (usually enchiladas), and then use the rest of the meat for the soup. If you want to use the whole chicken, then just double the recipe. Also, I use my mom's canned tomatoes for the tomato sauce. I'm not sure what the equivalent would be at the grocery store.

I also love this super easy chicken taco dip. 4 ingredients. Throw into crock pot. DONE!
I wasn't able to get a picture before the hubs and the littles attacked this! My kids don't like black olives, so I leave it out when I make it. 

Lastly, we do need to eat something on the healthy side, so we make this fruit salsa and cinnamon chips recipe.
I could seriously eat the whole batch by myself! It's got fruit; it's healthy, right? You can buy the cinnamon chips from some grocery stores (we usually find them at our local fresh food market, rather than a chain grocery store); however, we like the homemade ones best.
You can make the chips two ways:
1. Using Pam butter flavored spray. It's easier and not as messy, but not as tasty.
2. Using melted butter. Your kitchen will be a hot mess, but they taste SO much better. And I'm sure they're healthier too… (that was me being sassy!)

Click here for the recipes! I've included them in full 8x11 size or a smaller 3x5 for a recipe book.

I am noticing a theme with my recipes…. taco soup, chicken taco dip, fruit salsa and chips…. Yes we eat a lot of Mexican food in this house! My dad is from Mexico, so I grew up eating a lot of tortillas.



WW: Classroom Necessities - Nail Polish Remover

Hi friends! I'm back to share more great ideas with my Weekend Warrior pals!
Again, as I scoured my classroom for my "must have" to share with you, I tried to bring you a necessity that you might not have or know about.

Enter the Sally Hanson Nail Polish Remover.
Yes. It MUST be Sally Hanson. Why? I have no idea! Maybe it has something to do with the acetone. But the knock off/generic brands DO NOT work!

When I buy labels or name tags, I usually laminate them so I can use them from year to year. Then I write the students' names on the lamination with a Sharpie so it doesn't wipe off. But what happens at the end of the year, when you want the PERMANENT marker to come off so you can use it next year? I'm sure most of you have heard of the dry erase marker trick. Just color over the permanent marker with a dry erase marker, give it some elbow grease, and voila! Well, yes, this does work. But I have an EVEN BETTER trick! Just put a little bit of the nail polish remover on a tissue or cotton ball and wipe it off!

These are my birthday cupcakes. Before....
And if you really want to see how fast and amazing this is, here's a video:
I did do a little extra at the end to wipe up some of the liquid left over, but isn't this incredible?! Just make sure you're using this in a well-ventilated space :)

Check out some more must haves from my girls below! Happy Sunday!


WW: November Necessities

We're back a week early, bringing you some of the things we are thankful for in our classroom!
Of course I'm thankful for the technology my school provides me, my Flair pens and Mr. Sketch markers, and my HUGE classroom library… but today I want to share an idea you could take back to your classroom.

Insert my self-inking date stamp:
I LOVE this thing! I use it for several purposes in my classroom. I stamp all of my homework with the due date. Since I give a week to do all homework, it helps my parents stay organized, and it also keeps my hand from cramping up, since I don't have to write the date. I can also enlist a student to help me with this task. They LOVE to use my date stamper!
I also use the stamper to date work samples that go in my students' portfolios. It's just a quick and easy way to label these important papers and saves me a ton of time.

If you decide to buy one of these, here's a bit of advice. DO NOT throw away the stamp pad inside the stamper (it's self inking, remember?)! They don't sell replacement stamp pads, that I know of at least. You buy a tiny bottle of ink and drop a few drops of ink on the stamp pad to "refill" it. I threw mine away and had to buy a whole new stamper. And at $20, that was not a fun purchase. If you don't want to spend that kind of money on a date stamper, you can also buy the date stamp and stamp pad separately.

What do you need in your classroom? Comment below! Then stop by and see what my friends are sharing on their blogs. Happy weekend!


Bright Ideas Round Up

This time of year always makes me nostalgic, so why not take a look back at all the Bright Ideas that have been shared in 2014!
I love how this link up showcases genius classroom ideas from so many amazing bloggers! Literally, thousands of "ideas only" posts have been shared over the course of the last 10 months. Let's take a peek at some of the Bright Ideas I've shared this year:

This post shows how I organize my guided reading groups and paperwork using a set of two-pocket folders. I love that I'm not constantly flipping through pages in a binder or lugging a huge binder to and from data meetings!

Going along with the guided reading theme, this post shows how my team and I have compiled our guided reading books into one central location. We actually ordered a TON of books this summer and will be needing another cart! Not sure where we're going to put it though! 

In this post, I took a break from classroom ideas to share a trick for tying shoes that I learned in college. It works wonders on my kindergarten son!

 Lastly, I shared this post during the back to school season that explains how to use visuals to establish classroom routines and expectations. I love how my students' faces are all over my classroom!

Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with me this month! I hope that you've been able to use or have been inspired by the ideas I've shared. Grab your coffee and snuggly blanket and check out the other Bright Ideas Round Up Posts from my friends below. Have a super weekend!

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