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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Word Wall

I'm at work today putting up my word wall.  I knew it was going to be a task and just haven't had time to do it.  I was determined to get it done today among many other things on my list in an attempt to get ahead.  
I have pops of burlap and birds in my classroom this year so I found this cute birds and burlap editable set on Teachers Pay Teachers this summer.  
Teaching with Peace has a set of circle labels and rectangular labels that you can add your own words to.   
We use the Rebecca Sitton spelling program and these are high priority words we display in each classroom. 

Here is the beginning of the word wall.  It took me a couple of tries to get it lined up just right so they were all spaced out correctly and the space was even between the wall and the ends.  

I used 2peas font and adjusted the size by the size of the word.  

 Here in the wall finished and I couldn't be happier it is done.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sticky Buns

 These are the before pictures.  Dark green, marbled vinyl back and seats with dirty black covers on them.
A few weeks ago I wrote about painting vinyl chairs with Rustoleum spray paint for plastic.  The chairs turned out super sticky and I couldn't figure out why since I had read other tutorials of people using the same spray paint on vinyl.  I came to the conclusion that my vinyl wasn't smooth, it was more textured and they had been kitchen chairs at one time, a college student's kitchen chairs.  They probably hadn't had a good cleaning for years.  Even though I had scrubbed them thoroughly, it hadn't done much good.  I also wrote about a product called, "Krud Kutter" but what I soon found out about Krud Kutter is that when used on latex paint, it will cut through that too.  I didn't want to take all the paint off, I just wanted them to be smooth not sticky.  I couldn't live with the thought of selling these to someone who would end up with sticky buns.
One of my DIY friends told me that Polyurethane might cut that sticky residue and to try a little bit on the underneath of the chair.  I had pondered and researched for three weeks before trying it and sure enough it worked.  I tried it on all four chairs and the next morning they weren't sticky anymore.  I was so relieved.  I had worked on this project and wanted to sell it to a young college girl or someone that didn't need a huge table and chairs but loved the color turquoise.  I had finally found the answer and this project was going to get done.  
 Here you'll see the back done on one of the chairs.  Since I used a semi-gloss polyurethane, they are super shiny which goes perfect with the chalk paint I used on the legs.

 Here is a chair completely finished, all ready to go.
I think they turned out so cute, I'm just tickled.  If my daughter weren't just an 8th grader, I'd save these for her first college apartment!  I'm happy these beauties are done and no one is going to have sticky buns!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Memories of Sixteen

Today my oldest turns sixteen.  I am still in shock that I have a sixteeen year-old.  As I thought back last night making this collage of pictures of Tucker, I think back over the years about that little boy I held in my arms so long ago, who could sit for hours doing a puzzle with me, was always hauling books from his room saying, "Let's read a book", or bouncing a ball off the furniture, off the walls, into the trashcan and giggling.  He learned to walk chasing after a ball.

He's always been that kid that has a certain magnetism to him.  He's a lover of babies and animals, they have always gravitated to him. He has also always had the gift for being able to relate to the older generations too.  He has sat for hours listening to a World War II vet talk about his life, and widow share her stories of her life and past life with her late husband, or share his time with others.

Tucker is a kid that wears his heart on his sleeve whether it be for his family members, sticking up for a friend, or sharing wins and losses with his team.  I have watched so many football clips, "Mom, watch this play", "Mom look at this guy tackle", had a little tear in his eye as he watched the legend Derek Jeter in his, "Respect" video, listening to Al Picino's speech in, "Any Given Sunday" about being a team, westerns, "John Wayne is the greatest cowboy that ever lived" and many worms, toads, special rocks, and stray kittens have been brought home through the years.  His excitement for working under the hood of his truck, a big Friday night football game, or a gathering of 10 of his friends shooting hoops in our driveway until after dark or playing frisbee golf at the pool.  There's just something about raising a boy that touches a mother's heart.  It's different is so many ways as he becomes more like his dad and needs his mama less and less in his everyday adventures.

I have reflected back on it because as he grows I see the well rounded young man I had hoped he would be, confident yet a huge tenderheart, a hard worker, and tough when he needs to be and tender when the situation arises.  He still shares his feelings with me whether it's getting a good grade or a not so good grade, his highs and lows on the baseball field, and trying to figure out the teenage girl, good luck with that one Tuck!

There is something different about a relationship between a mother and son that is so unique in it's own way.  I used to read the book, "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch to Tucker before bed.  I always used to think how strange this book was while reading it, a mother driving across town to rock her grown son but it really doesn't seem that strange now.  Not that I'm going to sneak into Tucker's room and rock him but it is a feeling a mother still has no matter how old or big he's become. I suppose it's a mother's love to share those little moments but also to let him go as he becomes a man. So on this day of sixteen, I will hold onto that birthday hug I gave Tucker this morning, that big grin when he see's the huge banana boat dessert he gets tonight for his birthday, and the swelling of his chest when he receives his State Baseball Championship ring for his birthday present knowing that these little moments will be gone all too soon but still remain as memories tucked away from the last sixteen years.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Creamy Crockpot Spaghetti

Today in my attempt to fix a week's worth of meals in one day I tried Creamy Crockpot Spaghetti from Picky Pallette.  It turned out really well and made a lot more than I thought it would when it was finished.  Take a look at Creamy Crockpot Spaghetti.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Another Year of New Beginnings

It's another new school year which brings new beginnings for us all.  I'm starting my eighteenth year of teaching. Seventeen of those years in the same school believe it or not. With each new year of teaching comes new students. They all bring a new outlook on life for me.  They tend to mold me not only as a teacher but as a person.  They change my outlook on the world making me more thankful for the job I have and place I'm at in life.  I started out as an interior design major and deep down in my heart I knew I really would always be a teacher.  I can't imagine my career choice being any different. 

My children as also facing new beginnings.  My son Tucker is starting his sophomore year.  He just bought a new, used to him, truck.  A Jeep Comanche which I hear from all the menfolk is a super cool truck.  He loves it more than life itself right now even though there is a little rust on the fenders, its got mud tires, it's red, and has a pretty kicking stereo in it. He will turn 16 next week.  Some firsts for him will be receiving a State Baseball Championship ring, hopefully some varsity football time, (also loving more than life itself), an assigned Ipad to himself at school, and more freedom to drive to go fishing, frogging, baseball lessons, get togethers at friend's houses, and running his sisters around for me, bonus!

My daughter Addie is 13 and in the eighth grade.  She has already strarted cheerleading practice and will soon start cheering at the junior high football games.  Fall will be here before we know it!  They are preparing to do a dance and next week's fall scrimmages, a big deal to an 8th grader. She'll also start volleyball practice next week.  She doesn't have too many firsts since 8th grade is similar to 7th grade but she's an upperclassman in that end of the building. That's a really big deal in junior high!  She's my social butterfly always wanting to go to a friend's house and hang out!  She's all about her friends right now!
My baby, Emmie, just started kindergarten.  I now have everyone in school.  It's sad for me as a mother that I really don't have any babies left.  When they are in preschool they still seem like mama's baby but once they are in all day kindergarten, they seem so grown up!  It's a first for me not to pick her up at noon to take her to preschool.  It's been hard on this mama not seeing her mid-day to ask about her day but I know she's in good hands since one of my best friend's is her teacher.  Her new beginning may be emotional for me but she's rocking kindergarten like a pro!
We have a tradition like other families to wear that new outfit on the first day of school, have a special breakfast, and I might take a picture or two or fifty give or take a couple.  Everything is laid out and planned out the night before sometimes even a week before.  New beginnings take time and planning as I want to look back at this time and think that I tried to make it special for them.

As I reflect back on all the new beginnings I think of a scripture in Lamentations 3:22-24: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  I really am truly blessed.  Even though things are changing very quickly and it leaves me emotional as a mother, I will wake each morning and count my blessings the Lord has given me.  I hope your new beginnings bring you joy this school year!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back To School Photo Ideas

Here are some of my favorite Back To School photo ideas compiled.  If you click on the individual pictures, it will take you to the source.   

My baby is starting kindergarten this year.  It's definitely going to be bittersweet.  At the same time my oldest just bought his first truck and has his license.  This mom has some mixed emotions going on this year!  I share this one because it describes exactly how I'm going to be feeling this year.  
I tried this sign out and it's super easy to use.  You'll have to download the fonts she used in order for it to look like hers.  Just send it over to Staples or any other other store that will print 16 X 20 for you.  How easy is that?

I thought I would include this option for busy moms.  You simply take a digital picture, upload it into your computer and add a text box with your child's information and print it out.  

This isn't the greatest quality picture but this would be super easy to make.  You can get letters at any teacher supply store, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc.  Get an old frame from a thrift store, spray paint it, and glue gun the letters on.  Find a bright wall that's not busy behind your child and you've got a custom looking photo.

This picture is quite charming.  They just drew a "K" on the sidewalk and took a picture of their child on it and added, "indergarten" with a text box within the picture.  This is one I'm thinking of using, super cute!

I added this picture for comic relief.  Many moms feel this way maybe just for a little while.  I just look at it and laugh.  I'm ready for my kids to go back to school because they want to see their friends again.  The madness is getting ready to start, I'm a teacher so summer break is over, I have a sophomore starting football and fall baseball, an 8th grader starting cheerleading at football and playing volleyball and my baby starting kindergarten.  When your mother tells you to enjoy the little moments, they'll be gone before you know.  You'd better listen and believe it!

This is a cute scrapbooking option for the first/last day of school option.  I used to have time to scrapbook but I just don't anymore.  This could also be done in photo editing software.  I have been using Instaframe and Instasize on my iPad and it works well.  Photoshop is always a good option too!

This site has the Back to School signs.  I like how she did it on a path in the woods.  

This site has a tutorial on how to do this picture.  It is super cute and helpful!

I added this one because I thought it would work well for moms at my school.  We have gigantic ABC pillars holding the awning up as you walk up to my school.  Ya, they are really cool!  Once again, this is just taking the pictures and adding a text box on the picture.

This is my daughter's first/last day of preschool sign I made last year.  I used a large scroll sign from Hobby Lobby and glow marker on it.  

I included this graphic for you to see.  I used this two years ago for my daughter's first day of preschool shirt.  It was adorable!  You buy the graphic and print it on fabric transfer paper.  You then just iron it on a shirt.
This is a picture of my daughter's shirt.  She wore it all year long.  I also made her a shirt, "E is for Emmie" I found on Etsy.  We got tons of compliments on this shirt!

There you have it, some of the cutest ideas I have found!  Good luck to everyone on your first day of school.  I hope it goes smoothly and you remember to take all those neat pictures and come back and share them with all of us!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Reminiscing In My Hometown

I was recently back in my hometown visiting and went downtown to visit the shops and admire the architecture.  It may seem strange that I went to visit the shops in Weston, Missouri but even though I grew up there, I didn't grow up in town.  I grew up in an Antebellum home on a farm outside of Weston.  Most of the shops that were there when I was a child are gone although some have hung on through the years.  The shops continue to change and evolve.  Every once in a while I do like to go back and reminisce on the streets that I walked so many times more as a teenager than as a young child whether it be having a vanilla coke at the soda fountain, getting a tire fixed at the local garage or going with my dad to the tobacco sales barn to sell our tobacco. 
Weston is a town of many hills.  They are steep and cut to the Missouri river banks although the river shifted during history and no longer is at the bottom of the town.  Much of Weston's history can be found in the Weston Historical Museum.  
 As you can see it shows the traditional brick building that is so prominant in Weston.  

This town has a rich history for tobacco, orchards, and river trade.  I won't bore you with a history lesson but it is a historic town and that's what gives Weston it's charm.

 There are several Bed & Breakfasts in Weston to stay at that are not only beautiful but I hear are very accomodating and welcoming.  Since my parents live right down the road, I have never stayed at one.  The Benner House is right at the top of Main Street and a quick walk to downtown.  It is also the most colorful Bed & Breakfast in town that has a picket fence that welcomes you that says, "Come on in and stay a while"! 

Here is the view from The Benner House at the top of Main Street.  As you can see, it has many historic buildings and is pretty busy.  I encountered many couples both young and older going in and out of the shops and restaurants.  

Bricks sidewalks peek through here and there in town as well as a few brick streets still remain in town.  

This fence is in front of someone's house that has a brick patio, no yard.  What you will see in Weston is most of the original houses built in town and therefore they are built very close together.  

This is the bell in front of the Methodist church.  It's really quite neat.  

As you can see, it's a very old building as well.  

Here is a view in the middle of Main Street downtown.  

Most of the buildings have welcome signs and/or benches out front for people to sit and visit.

The street lamps are in the style of the early times.  As you can see, there are many American flags hung in front of the buildings.  

This is the McCormick Store from McCormick liquor.  The distillery is down the road and has big changes coming.  You can check out my sister's web site for those details; Socialwrx.  She'll be sharing the details as they come available soon!

You can get a sample of their whiskey and McCormick memorabilia.  I worked at the McCormick distillery in high school giving tours of the whiskey sheds.  It really is a neat place right outside of town.  

 I love the wrought iron on this building.  I'd love to come back and buy this building someday and have my antique store/boutique!

 Weston has a nice city park althogh it was completely flooded this spring after a heavy rain.  

This is one of my favorite houses in town.  It's across town by the high school.  I drove by it everyday on my way to high school.  I always wanted to live there when I was younger.  The picket fence makes it feel like home!

 I just had to take a picture of my high school.  I have such fond memories of going to school here.  It was much smaller and where the pillars are, that was a lawn with a parking lot where the sign is.  Right out front, I painted the streets for homecoming which is a long standing tradition.

 The Weston Bed and Breakfast is right across the street from the high school across town from Main Street Weston, Mo.  It's huge front porch with wicker chairs and beatiful landscaping make it a stand out on the main drag.
The Weston Select Bed and Breakfast is on one of the hilly streets in Weston.  It is up the street from another Bed & Breakfast and is very clean and has a large yard.  It is also for sale along with the house behind it, I'm assuming where the residents live.  Not only is this beautiful, you should see the house behind it that is for sale.  It's newer but really awesome too! 

The Murphy House Bed and Breakfast has it all, wrap around porch, landscape gallor, character, and a really beautiful paint job.  Of all the Bed & Breakfasts I saw, this one looks like a really creative person runs it or lives here!

There are many brick and stone walls in town, ivy growing up walls and house/chimneys, and old world charm throughout town.  

The Weston Brewing Company and O'Malleys Pub are a block from Main Street.  

O'Malley's Pub is really old!  It's a hotspot for St. Patricks Day.  The sunken pub definitely makes you feel like you are in an Irish pub in Ireland!

 This is the McCormick Distillery sign outside of town.  It sets back in the woods with a long driveway.  

This was one of the houses I loved as a child too!  It has a long, tree lined drive to it.  

This was the house my dad grew up in.  I really couldn't get a very good picture of it.  It's along a pretty busy highway that leads to the backway into town so I couldn't really park to get a picture.  I remember going in the front door and looking up a winding staircase that reminds me of, "Gone With the Wind."  It really was a neat house!  I'd love to go back and tour it or even buy it back someday!
If you are a lover of history, love architecture, shopping for antiques or in quaint little shops, and see it all within walking distance of two to three blocks, you'll love Weston, Mo.  The best times to visit are the Weston Homes Tours in December or the Applefest in October.  There are other smaller events that happen throughout the year.  Just visit the website http://westonmo.com/  so you'll know of any upcoming events.   It's on the list of the 17 Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns in Missouri and it's right down the road from Parkville, Mo which made number one on the list.   I hope you visit my hometown where everyone that visits is made to feel at home!