Friday, January 24, 2014

Snow Day with Rory!

Okay so like I said before we have been on a snow break all week. (I still have slots left on my pay it forward post from earlier today!)

My dog has been going stir crazy so I took her out for some fun and pictures today.

While we were playing one of my Christmas presents got delivered. A stuffed animal version of my Rory!

Enjoy my animal indulgence for a bit!
Rory is not amused. 

Someone got a sour bite of snow

My favorite picture of Rory to date!

I stopped her mid sentence I guess. 

Dog Snow Angels!

Mskcpotter's Favorite Things

So while I took a break from blogging and creating products I had a lot of extra time on my hands to enjoy reading and relaxing.

I thought I would share some of my favorites from the last few months!


I am super excited for the Divergent movie to come out in March. I LOVED the first book….we won't discuss the last book of that series!

The Selection books have been really interesting so far. Kind of an old fashioned yet futuristic version of The Bachelor.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls was not my favorite David Sedaris book. This one bordered on mean and a little preachy, but it had some high points.

Monument 14 was a fun book about a group of school kids trapped in a Wal Mart like store during an apocalypse. I stopped reading after the second book because the fun of the book was them being in the store.

Variant is a little bit older, but it is really intriguing. A group of students is placed inside of a school and they have to run it themselves. They end up forming different gangs also. There is more than meets the eye in this book.

The Spectacular Now  was a quiet book that I was not sure that I would like at first, but in the end I got hooked and really liked it!

Serena P.S. is a book I am not sure I can say that I LIKED…but I thought about it for a long time after I read it.

Is Everyone Hanging out Without me? is just a fun and enjoyable read, especially if you like Mindy Kaling!


I think that "Breaking Bad" is my favorite show of all time. If you have not watched it yet…what the heck are you waiting for?

After getting all worked up from the intensity of "Breaking Bad" I like to mellow out with "The Middle" I like that the characters on that show are just nice people. I've never been able to get into "Modern Family" because everyone comes off mean to me. "The Middle" on the other hand is amusing and nice. 

"Burn Notice" my little ex mentee made me start watching this show and I got hooked and couldn't stop. I ended up watching all seven seasons in a row. I thought the main character was to "smirky" at first, but by the time I got over that I was in so deep I couldn't stop. My little ex mentee still needs to finish the series herself so we can discuss!

"Parks & Recreation" is a silly show that I love. I was eating lunch with a co-worker yesterday and I told her that I think I should marry Ron Swanson. She looked at me and said, "You know….I think that would be a good fit."

"The New Girl" has its ups and downs for me. I love the character of Nick most of the time, which is why I stick with it. Sometimes the show still tries a little too hard, but when it's on, it's on!

"Derek" I was bored over Thanksgiving break and I stumbled on this show on Netflix. Every. Single. Episode. made me laugh and cry. Of all the shows I would recommend checking this one out the most!

"Downton Abbey" is a show I didn't think I would be able to get into, but it is completely amazing! I want to grow up to be the Dowager Countess please and thank you!

"Raising Hope" is a show I started watching over Christmas break that has some really sweet and funny moments in it. They include a lot of funny word play jokes that remind me of Michael Scott!

I finally just finished watching all the seasons of "Dexter" I loved the show, but I am still seething over how they ended the show….I mean seriously?!

I finally got around to seeing The Help and I really liked it. Anyone know if the book is worth reading also?

I randomly Netflixed It Time recently and I thought that a lot of the ideas in the movie were really clever. I could see the movie making an interesting book too. 

Silver Linings Playbook is a quite and odd movie, but I've watched it twice and I just really enjoy how uplifting it is….it has quite the silver lining if you will.

I will admit that I didn't know anything about The Great Gatsby until I saw the new version in theaters. I LOVED it and instantly decided to teach it in my advanced class this year. I don't know why, but the book and movie are kind of polarizing. Either you love it or you hate it. The only think I really hate about it is Daisy. If I end up adopting a male dog this spring I have already decided that his name will be Gatsby!

Gravity is the big movie of the year I suppose. I saw it in the theaters and I came away with a range of emotions I can't quite pin point, but I really liked it. 

50/50 was another quiet movie that I enjoyed, but that could be because I love Anna Kendrick and Joseph Gordon Levitt. 

Safety to Guaranteed  was a cute little movie I stumbled on. The characters are researching an ad they found in which a person is asking for someone to go time traveling with. It's just a weird, quirky, and cute little movie. 

So I have an unfinished basement in my house that I can't afford to finish yet. That is where I keep the kitty litter box that is the bane of my existence. The entire basement has a smell of urine when you descend into its depths. The dust and tracings of the kitty litter are all over the basement too.  I love my cats and all (one is laying in my lap as I type this) but I LOATHE kitty litter and litter boxes. I have tried them all….literally. I finally decided to save money and bite the bullet and try a Litter Robot and fancy kitty litter. So far, it is worth the cost. The dome is keeping most of the kitty litter actually IN the container and it is actually sifting out ALL of the waste (unlike other litter boxes I have tried). 

I am still in love with Ink Joy pens. They are the only things I like to write with because they are crazy smooth. If this company ever goes out of business I will actually cry. 

Contigo, as you all know, is the only coffee mug that I will use. The only issue I had with them is that it is hard to clean the inside of the lids. Contigo must have listened to their customers because they came out with a new easy clean lid! I bought a new purple Contigo with an easy clean lid on MLK day and I am excited to use it come Monday (if we actually go back to work!). 

Nilodor is an awesome little product I stumbled across when I was trying to rid my basement of the urine smell. It's really neat and it really works!

I'm in an organizing my house fix right now so I am all about over the door hangers right now!

I have been having foot problems from this summer. I finally when to a Dr. and he recommended Asic shoes. They have been the only thing that has helped and I love them now!

Of all the products I bought for my classroom this year, the best one was my Paper Pot. My students go through tissue like crazy and this item takes toilet paper and feeds it out like tissue. I LOVE IT!


This wall decal I got from Kohls:

I just found this website that turns your Facebook into a bound book. 

I ordered one and it just came in the mail. It takes all of your statuses, pictures, comments, and friends and binds them together in a printed book. 

I was wary about it when I first ordered it, but the quality is really nice!

Anyway, those are just some of my favorite material things over the last few months….any suggestions for me?

Snow Day Generosity

So I have not been to school this ENTIRE week. 

We had MLK day off and then a small snowstorm on Tuesday that knocked us out for the rest of the week. 

It's been a nice little break. 

Lemme tell you though….It will be hard to go back to reality on Monday!

One of my childhood friends that I follow on Facebook posted this last night:

I'm participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative : The first 5 people who comment on this status with "I'm in" will receive a surprise from me a some point in this calendar year - anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something homegrown or made, a postcard, absolutely anything chosen for each specific person. There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy.

These 5 people must make the same offer in their FB status. Copy this text on your profile (don't share) so we can form a web of connection and kindness. Lets do more nice and loving things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other.

Here's to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love-filled year.

I like the idea and the sentiment so I thought that I would offer a version of this same thing here on my blog. I like the idea of doing it here and not with my Facebook friends that I talk to often. I feel like I can always do something kind for them on an as needed basis!

So here is what I would like to do!

The first 5 people who comment on this status with "I'm in" will receive a small surprise from me at some point in this calendar year. Everyone could use a little surprise pick-me-up at some point right! (And who doesn't love mail that is not bills!). There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. 

All I ask in return is that you either offer the same on your blog -OR- if you don't blog yourself you do something nice for 5 people you work with. We can form a web of connection and kindness. Let's do more nice and loving things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other.

Here's to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love-filled year.

Now.let's see if 5 people still read my blog Haha!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First week with the student teach!

I am almost through my first week with my student teacher. So far so good... I think!

I am the type of person who craves control and the peace that it gives me.

When I found out on Friday night that I was getting a student teacher for the first time on Monday….that sent my stress level into overdrive! I spent Saturday to Tuesday night waking up in the middle of the night with crazy heart palpitations and thinking in my head, "This is the end. I'm having a heart attack at 30 years old." The thudding would eventually subside and I would be able to drift back into a restless sleep, but that didn't help my state of mind when going into work.

When I walked into school on Monday I had so many things to accomplish and a few meetings that I was very frenzied when I first met her. This is out of character for me because I am rarely frenzied (Sarcastic, bitter, and distraught, but frenzied?….NO).  I had to race around my room and the school that I was barely about to mutter 3 sentences to her before classes started.

My hurricane state couple with the fact that the kids were off kilter that day created a perfect storm that probably gave the poor girl heart palpitations of her own that night. However, she showed up the next day so that is a plus!

We have not had a lot of time to talk one on one yet, but she has been really willing to jump in and help so far!

Yesterday she helped conference with students on the essays that they are writing. I saw a large shift in the way students addressed her from the day before to after she helped them with their essays also, which makes me cautiously optimistic in their upcoming behavior towards her.

Today, without being asked,  she jumped right in and helped transfer those essays from the NEOs we were typing on to the library computers, helped to make copies, and helped with the grading (I even looked over a few of the grades she was giving for the essays and she was pretty much spot on).

I don't know how she will stack up on her content knowledge, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it!

We decided that next week I will teach a block, then she will teach a block. We will discuss over lunch how it went and then we will alternate teaching the remaining two blocks again.

The following week she will start teaching on her own fairly exclusively (with me still in the classroom).

I'm nervous about this whole process. Worried that I'm not doing it properly, worried that I am not acting like a role model, and worried that I will scar her for life!

However, I will say that there are a lot of new student teachers in the building and so far I keep telling myself, "Man, I'm glad I got this one!"

I just hope that she feels the same way and is not thinking to herself, "Man, I wish I hadn't gotten this teacher!"

The way that I interact with my kids is different and unique, but I hope that she can learn something from my lessons, the way I structure my class, and maybe a little bit of my management style.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Extended Hiatus

So I took quite the extended hiatus!

Last year was such a rough year that I think I went into this year with a defeated attitude.

I couldn't get inspired to create new products for TPT or Teachersnotebook and anything I tried to write for this blog seemed more bitter than humorous.

I also have the type of personality that once I start working on something I CANNOT stop. It remains on my brain until I finish it. I can't do anything else, including sleep, until my projects are completed.

Also, in November TPT sent me an email saying that they were no longer allowing sellers to use Google Drive for delivering products. This was not part of the terms of service when I started. On top of that I had also had 4 separate conversations with TPT support staff over the summer about that very product housed on Google Drive in which they asked ME to use it as an alternative to a buyer.  Then they deactivated my English Curriculum.  They didn't give any warning on this, just a snippy email, and a deactivation. I was so disheartened and frustrated with them and their customer service.

All of that coupled with other personal issues pushed me to a breaking point.

I finally decided to just step away and take some time. I didn't know that would end up being four months worth of time, but I digress.

During my time away I focused on organizing my house (still a work in progress), spending time with my animals, and doing holiday related things.

  • I had my own little Thanksgiving at home. 
  • I baked pies with a new friend from work. 
  • I had a cookie exchange and ornament decorating party with friends from school and the ladies from my church. 
  • I went to see my pastor's two daughters in their school holiday play. 
  • I went to a Christmas Eve service with my friend and her son. 
  • I had Christmas lunch with two friends and their sons.

I am just starting to feel like I am becoming a normal person again after last year. We had 2 and 1/2 days off of school this week due to cold temps and weather so that could have something to do with it!

My school year is going okay. The large majority of our students this year are good kids that are willing to work with us.

My largest issue this year is with other adults, and I only have to interact/deal with them a fraction of the day!

I am apparently about to embark on a new journey as I got an email last night from a girl saying she is my student teacher who is starting on Monday!

I have never had a student teacher before and that makes me quite nervous.

Have any of you guys had student teachers before? Any tips?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's the Great Pumpkin Day!

I would have to say if someone were to ask me what my favorite holiday is I would have to say.....Pumpkin Day. 

What is Pumpkin Day you ask?


Our story begins in the fall of 2006. 

I had just started teaching at my current school and had met a group of young teachers like myself. 

We all lived in the same apartment complex so in a way it was like college all over again!

One Saturday I was invited over to my new friend Kate's apartment to carve pumpkins. 

I went and this is what the result was this:

The next year  Jake and Kate had purchased a new house and pumpkin carving took place at their new house (I cannot find my pumpkin pictures from that year!)

The tradition continued and Kate still likes to talk about how it looks like my witch was squatting to urinate!:

The tradition being firmly in place we decided to add something new and cook all pumpkin themed foods. 

I believe that this year we made Pumpkin Pasta with sweet sausage

Since then we have made pumpkin:
Mac and Cheese
Whoopie Pies
Another type of Pasta
A few more things I am probably forgetting

Jake decided to go off book and create his own Redskins pattern, Kate made a perverted skeleton with Kate friend, and I made an owl!:

This year I didn't take pictures for some reason so I just have two cell phone pictures after the fact. We also added a new person to the tradition Jake and Kate's first son Bryce!:

Last year I decided to try to make my own mummy didn't work so I just had what appeared to be squiggles. Kate and Jake made cute faces!:

This year we added Jake and Kate's newest son Evan to the proceeding to round our party out to five!

We also went all out and decided to go with a pumpkin breakfast theme!

I made Carmel Pumpkin Monkey Bread (AMAZING!)

Kate made pumpkin oatmeal and pumpkin poppers (like donut holes)

My plate before carving consisted of bacon, eggs, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin popper, and pumpkin monkey bread. Can't top that!

After lunch-ish we got down to carving (You can't carve without carmel apples!)

I made a cyclops while Kate made a trio of Jack 'O Lanterns!

When I got home from pumpkin night I had my new Bark Box in the mail and Inside were pumpkin dog treats! The timing couldn't be better!

 And that is the story of how The Great Pumpkin Day came to be!


 The reason this day is so important to me is that it is really the only REAL tradition that I have that I can count on from year to year. 

I think I am really 87 at heart and routines and traditions are really important to me. 

However, with all of the other major holidays, I don't have any real solid traditions to look forward to or count on. 

I know for a fact that come mid October I will be at Jake and Kate's house cooking pumpkin food, carving pumpkins, and (now that they have kids) playing with their boys. 

Thus, The Great Pumpkin Day is my favorite "holiday"

Timing is Everything

So last week I got a surprise package in the mail from one of my readers/person who bought my curriculum. 

She decided to send me a package from Hawaii (where she resides). 

I was having kind of a down week and her thoughtfulness really touched me and made me cry. 

Everything in the box was tailor suited to me and my likes, it was nothing short of amazing!

Everything inside of the box was wrapped up super cute!

The little guy was the first thing that I opened and I love him! How cute is he!!!

This stuffed panda is for Rory (somehow she knew!)

Snacks! My Co-workers will thank you when I take these to work with me!

Thank you so much Joy! :)