Monday, December 31, 2012

Make it Monday- Bed Buddies

With Christmas finished and the cold weather upon us (at least here in Texas it has been pretty stinking cold!) Anyway, I really wanted to sew this year.. and money has been tight.  I remembered growing up my mom used to make bed buddies.  She made them using warm fuzzy socks and long grain rice.  I had gone to Hobby Lobby and found some wonderful bandannas for $1.00 each!

To Make the Bed Buddies you need
-fabric (I used bandannas because they were already a good size- VERY IMPORTANT- cut off the edges or test out your fabric first! It is going into the microwave.. and I found that the edges of the bandannas had some type of plastic in it.  Thank goodness I tested out before I got to sewing!)
-sewing machine

See my video for full directions.  Each one took me about 10 minutes to make.

On another note.  When I bought all of these awesome bandannas I found one that had flames all over it, perfect for my husband!  I ran home and put it together fast (as he was at work.. and I wanted to get it wrapped and under the tree while he was out)  I was SO proud of how it looked.  But if you notice my first VERY IMPORTANT message.. cut off the edges to the bandanna.  Wahh wahh (insert Charlie Brown Christmas right here) So, the present stayed under the tree.. he opened it.. and then I had tell the whole story.  Everyone else loved them though!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year! A Few Reflections!

I have a blog all ready for December 31 for my Make it Monday blog (finished up the movie this morning!)  But I had to take a minute to reflect on this year.  This year has been a TOUGH year for many reasons.  I am very lucky with the people that I surround myself with, amazing husband, and amazing family.

This morning my husband and I sat down and wrote out goals for ourselves.  I will be sharing our goals and adventures at my new blog (don't worry.. I will still be updating this one.. but wanted one just for goals!)  You can find it here.

This year has been a crazy busy year (but then again.. if you know us.. we don't sit still well!)

William was busy this year!  He enjoyed being in the spotlight in several online articles.  He also loved having the chance to be on the Main Stage for Taste of Dallas.  He is an amazing chef that can turn anything into art.    I have been trying to keep his website up to date at Culinary Anarchy.

This summer West Nile was the big thing in the news.  Our family had its fair share of it during the month of August.  Who knew a little mosquito could be such a PAIN!  William recovered from that and is back to his passion.

This year I was honored with the title TCEA Teacher of the Year, 20 Educators to Watch by the National School Board Association, and also Most Influential in Educational Technology.  I still am in awe that I have these honors.  I also spent time traveling and presenting at conferences all over the United States.  It was such an adventure! This year was the year that I also thought I might move out of the classroom, but things do not always go as you have planned them.  I LOVE my classroom and we have done some super fun things this year!

Anyway.. back to this morning.  William and I have always told our goals to each other in passing, but have never written them down.  We sat down and wrote our goals for our careers, financials, health, short term goals, and just goals in general.  They of course include actually going on a vacation (we haven't been on one together since our honeymoon), pay off certain bills, keep a certain amount in savings and some other odds and ends.  I think the biggest goal/reflection was about careers.  I applied for several assistive technology positions/ instructional technology positions this summer.  I thought I was qualified and perfect for the job and that I would be perfect for it.  I did not get either position.  I don't think I am ever going to get over this... and truthfully I don't know if I can ever accept what happened.  But since I did not get that position I have felt lost.  I have always known what I wanted to do.. and how I was going to get there.. so I thought.  When I didn't get those positions I thought I didn't want to be an AT or an ITS... that is not the job for me because I didn't get the position here.  When William and I sat down and wrote our career goals.. it was the first time that I put down on paper that I want to be an assistive technology specialist or be a part of the educational technology world.  In other words, with that really long drawn out story, I know what I want to be!  I have lots of goals, but my career goal is to be an assistive technology specialist or an instructional technology specialist.  It was so nice to write that.  I don't know where I am going to be.. or how I am going to get there, but I know that is what I want to do!

What are your goals?  How are you reflecting? I do have to leave with my FAVORITE picture from this break.

I have the BEST family ever!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Movie Monday- Merry Christmas! #TexasSanta

As I mentioned in my last blog this year our finances have been tough.  So, when my husband called me out to the front Friday evening and there stood my parents I cried.  My husband had called my parents and asked if they would come down for a couple of days.  Wow.. kudos to my husband!

Here is the cool thing.  I know that you all have great parents, but I have the BEST!  My parents are Texas Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  On Saturday my parents got dressed up in their vintage Texas Santa costumes and we went to the Fort Worth Stockyards.  The look on kids faces as they saw my parents, the pictures taken, and just the overall happiness were fantastic!  My parents didn't charge for pictures, went through over 100 candy canes, and spread cheer to hundreds of people that we passed.  I am very lucky to have the family that I have.

I wanted to share the movie that I created.  Please.. please.. please share if you can :)  Also, my parents own a local bookstore in Canyon, Texas.  If you are ever in the area you should stop by and see them.  They are pretty awesome.  Buffalo Bookstore has a facebook page too and they post a quote a day (so go like them!)

Enjoy the movie.  I hope you have a very safe and happy holidays!  Next week is Make it Monday (and I already have started on the blog.. I am on a role!)  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Magnificent Monday! Crafting for the Holidays!

Tis the Season to be crafting.... this season has been a little tighter on the checkbook.  I know that most of the world is struggling financially.. and I am NO different (husband had West Nile virus this summer, so he was out of work with no pay for a month!)  Anyway, every year I enjoy participating in Secret Santa.  I also make over 100 ornaments to put in the boxes of all of our staff members.

I was super lucky to grow up with some great parents that encouraged us to give gifts from the heart.  The things I make might not be the best or the prettiest, but they come from my heart.  My first year teaching I didn't really fit in (but then again.. I am kind of an oddball.. and I don't fit in everywhere.. but that doesn't stop me!), but I knew that I wanted to do something for the whole staff . I knew that everyone enjoys getting something in their box.  That started my ornaments 11 years ago.  Each year I try to make them a little different so people don't have repeats.  This year I am a little more behind on my ornaments (thanks to being sick this weekend!)

Thanks to Pinterest and raiding my craft closet I came up with some great gifts!  See captions below each picture.  Want more information on one, let me know!

I saw these cute ideas on Pinterest.  I have seen them made with a larger frame.  For this one I found a little 5x7 frame from my craft closet.  Take out the glass.  The ornaments I found at the dollar store (even the jingle bell) Tied them on top with some pretty ribbon.  My friend Misty did a huge one that looked great!

This is the start of our Christmas tree at school.  We are learning about holidays around the world. Each place we learn about we travel by google earth to check it out and then add an ornament to our tree about the place.  I will add more pictures about it to a later blog

This was one of my FAVORITE projects! It took maybe 30 minutes and cost less than $3!  I found a Santa hat at Wal-Mart and bought 3 yards of tulle.  I bought the tulle at Wal-Mart for  $.97 a yard, but I sure it would work just as fine if you bought the spool.  Use a wire hanger and start tying it on. I love how it turned out (see picture below)

Every year I have my class help me make a holiday shirt.  We have always done a Christmas tree, but this year we did a Santa! I love how it turned out!

This was my final project for my Secret Santa.  I was pretty pleased how it turned out!

I nabbed these light bulbs last year and I wasn't for sure what I was going to do with them.  We had an ornament exchange at work.  I hot glued 4 together at a time.  Then glued the 2 done pieces together.  I found these cute snowflakes to cover the hot glue.

These are my ornaments for this year. Very vintage (a little different than my usual ornament)  Found pretty scrapbook paper and used brown paper packages.  Cut out stars that I had drawn and sewed them together.
Of course I couldn't blog all of my holiday blog without including a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Claus!

What are your yearly traditions?  I also always bake (yes.. I wrote bake!) cookies or some other treat for our cafeteria staff, janitors, office staff, and bus drivers.  I have a feeling tomorrow night will be a long night, but one that makes me super happy to do!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mail Call Monday- Review of Tim Holt's Book 180 Questions

I can't believe that I wrote my blog over a month ago!  Tis the season for life to get crazy!  I am back on track though... and I have some super fun blogs lined up!

In October 2012 Tim Holt's book 180 Questions hit the iTunes bookshelves.  I was excited to have the opportunity to review it.  Last month Tim did a guest post for me over his book and the importance of asking questions.  You can find that blog here.

There were many reasons that I was interested in downloading and reading this book.  One of the main reasons, however, was because I know the author and some of the people that helped with it!  I already enjoy their thoughts, actions and ways that they are trying to change education and thinking.

"Do all the teachers of our school know all the other teachers, and what they teach?"
 -Tim Holt 180 Questions-

The creativeness of this book includes interactive links, short quotes, meaningful questions that provoke a conversation, videos, and QR codes.  This allows not only opportunities to extend learning but offer other ideas to use in the classroom or school.  I have noticed that in my online Professional Learning Community many people are more apt to answer tough questions put out by other educators.  When it comes to face to face PLC's we are not as forth coming.  This book presents enough questions to have a daily reflection of school through six different categories.  These questions don't just focus on the big questions about school, but also how parents, students, and community perceive school.  We are looking for ways to engage in conversation.   We are looking for ways to share our ideas and opinions over various topics.  

I look forward to using this book to leverage conversations with my administration and members on my team.  As I move forward in my career it will be a book that I use to reflect on different facets of my education and community that I am involved in.  

Tim of course says it best:

"When was the last time we actually discussed the profession of education in a PLC? When did we do something to improve ourselves as educators, instead of just trying to improve a test score? Those are the types of things that happen when we actually start asking ourselves meaningful questions. When we ask the questions that colleagues and ourselves can really bite into, then, as educators, real learning can take place. Just like when we ask our students meaningful questions."- Tim Holt Mail Call Monday

How do you engage your Professional Learning Community in meaty questions?  What do you do to promote questions that are no just test based, but ones that will help you grow as an educator and learner?