Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Favorites: Spring Jackets

Happy Friday!
I'm so glad it's Friday! This has seemed like one looong week!
Today I'm linking up with ErikaNarci and Andrea
We're sharing our favorites from the week.
Grab their graphic and linkup with your favorites from the week.

Goodbye standardized testing!

The last few weeks we have hit it hard in the language arts classroom. 
We had two days of AIR testing that were 2 hours each. 
Then, this week we had STAR testing which was 30-40 minutes. 
My students are over testing, and I can't say that I blame them. 

We've had a lot of problems with our Chromebooks not connecting to the internet recently, so we had to opt to do our STAR testing in the regular lab. 
While I'm not a fan of that, I'm proud of the students for being open to change and overcoming the challenges. 

Now that testing is over and we still have two months of school left, we will do some more fun activities. 
Yes, we are still doing language arts work (the students always ask that after the tests are over), but I will toss in some more light-hearted work as well. 
We are finishing The Giver this week, and then we will watch the movie next week. 
After that we will start researching various topics for an argumentative essay and debate. 
Middle schoolers love to debate!!
I gave them a survey to find interest points and a topic that half of the class agrees with and half that the class disagrees with to determine which argumentative topic each class will get. 


I've had my eye on lots of cute jackets this week.
One of my co-workers has been pairing her super cute denim jacket with various tops.
Even one of my students had an olive green jacket on yesterday, and I so wanted to ask where she got it!
Sheaffer shared this super cute jacket earlier in the week.
I typically don't shop a lot at Old Navy because their clothes tend to be too big for me, but I love this jacket and its price-under $40!
It comes in 4 other colors.
I just wish I knew how close to size it was.

I'm in need of a new denim jacket.
I usually don't love the ones that hit mid-stomach.
So, I'm searching for one that's a bit longer.

If I didn't already have a military jacket, I would opt for this ruffle one.
I love the ruffle on it!
If only it came in navy or cream!!

Homemade Doughnuts

Yesterday I linked up with a Gal Named Al to share my childhood recipe of homemade doughnuts. 
My mom used to make these for us as a surprise on the weekends. 
My body can't stand much grease anymore, but I indulged last weekend. 
Find my simple recipe here
To see all of the recipes on this weeks linkup, click here.

Sarah Dessen Books

I'm not lying when I say you HAVE to read some of Sarah Dessen's books if you are a person who likes realistic fiction. 
I finished my fourth? book of hers earlier in the week. 
Just a few weeks ago I finished Saint Anything
Sydney's brother is caught doing numerous things that he shouldn't be, so he's sent away only to leave her with her parents who are constantly obsessing over everything she does. 
She decides to move schools and meets new "friends" that quickly help her to survive her new life at home. 
Just this week I finished What Happened to Goodbye
A teenage girl's parents divorce, only to leave her angry at her mother and living with her father, who moves from place to place for his work. 
At each new place she creates a new name and personality for herself so that she doesn't have to get close to people and feel badly when she has to move on. 
McClean risks it all at this new place with new neighbors and new friends. 
I want to read the rest of her books right now!
Too bad I'm behind on my science fiction and fantasy books in our class 40 Book Challenge or I would be reading nonstop Sarah Dessen. 

Mystery Meal Cafe

Last Saturday we had a great time as my aunt and uncle hosted the Mystery Meal Cafe.
We were welcomed with this menu to select our three course meal.

Here's a peak at my first meal.

This was such a fun evening with my family. 
We laughed and laughed as each person's meal came out. 
To check out the whole post, click here.

Well another week in the books.
Have the best weekend!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Homemade Doughnuts

Today I'm sharing a childhood recipe as I linkup with Allie from A Gal Named Al.
This is a little treat that my mom used to make my brother and I.
We used to love Saturday mornings when she would make us homemade doughnuts. 
The unfortunate thing is the older I get the less I can eat them because they are made in oil. 
My body just doesn't love that greasy stuff. 

Last Saturday I got the urge to have a doughnut, so I looked in the frig and found a can of biscuits. 
All you need for these is some Canola oil, biscuits, cookie cutters, a pan and some sugars.

Start by removing the biscuits from the can. 

Then use a small cookie cuter or doughnut cutter to make a hole in the middle. 

Then pour some Canola oil in a frying pan that has higher sides. 
Let the oil heat up and then test the oil by dropping in one of the biscuit pieces. 
If it starts to bubble, it's ready to go!

While the doughnuts are cooking, you can prepare some sandwich zipped baggies with granulated sugar and powdered sugar. 
If you like brown sugar, my brother's favorite, you can use that too!

I also prep my plate with a double layer of paper towels and a fork to put the doughnuts on when they are done.

Let the doughnuts cook until they look browned, and then flip them over and do the other side. 

When they appear to be finished, cook them just a tad bit longer, as you don't want gooey doughnuts.
Remove the doughnuts to the prepared plate.

Put the doughnuts in the sugar of your choice, zip it closed and shake!!

Remove the doughnuts and enjoy!

These are a bit messy, so I like to have a wet paper towel as a napkin to clean my hands off while I'm eating. 
Add in a tall glass of milk, and you have the best breakfast for twice a year!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: End of March!

Well, see you later March!
I feel like you just arrived, but I guess it's time for you to go.
March has seemed very busy.
There were lots of school conferences, meetings and presentations and not to forget a sweet little baby being born.
While March was great, I'm looking forward to April.
Today I'm rounding out the month with What's Up Wednesday.

At the end of each month MelShay and Sheaffer share 
What's Up Wednesday!!!
We answer a series of questions and one extra one special to that month.
This month we're answering...
What's your favorite spring wardrobe piece?

What we're eating this week:

We've got a wide variety of food items for the week. 

Zucchini Casserole

Mint Chocolate Bundt Cake

Simple and Easy Peanut Butter Pie

Homemade Doughnuts

Bubble Up Pizza Casserole
Andrea shared this recipe last week.
I made it over the weekend, and we're still enjoying the last of it.

What I'm reminiscing about:

Last year at this time my whole life revolved around planning our wedding.
The other day I was trying to book some hotel rooms and rental car for an upcoming trip, and I got to thinking back on everything that I had to book last year.

It was about this time now that our initial wedding planner just wasn't working so I had to find a new one with only about 2 months left till our wedding.

What I'm loving:

It's Spring!!
Last weekend I had the best time enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. 
I'm just so happy to wear a t-shirt and shorts again. 
Also, I love all of the birds chirping. 
There's just something about waking up to birds singing!!

What we've been up to:

Last weekend we got our yard all ready for spring.
Washing windows, picking up sticks, pulling weeds

I'm still in the process of growing geraniums and impatiens inside, too.

What I'm dreading:

The two things that I put on my list last month are now over.

We had our state testing for language arts and our students nailed it!
Now, I can't tell you their scores because we don't score them, but I can tell you that their effort was phenomenal!
It's really hard to motivate 13 and 14 year-olds at times, especially when it comes to taking a test that doesn't matter to them and won't have any influence on if they pass 8th grade or not.
Our test is two hours long on two different days, and the students did a great job of being focused and working diligently!

Monday was my periodontist check-up
Thankfully everything went as planned, and they said my gums look good!
So six more months until the next check-up.

What I'm working on:

I'm prepping a lot of things for next school year.
Since our testing is over now, and we still have two months of school left, I'm working a lot on fixing lessons for next year.
I'm working on new ideas and new books.

Also, I'm working on rearranging my room and purchasing a book scanner to check in and out the books in my classroom.
I love the setup of my classroom right now, but I need the wall that's behind my desk to put bookshelves.

What I'm excited about:

So, we've been on a variety of trips in the past year.
We went to New York, Marathon, Key West, Bahamas, Mexico.
Some of them I booked myself and some we had help with.
I just love vacationing and planning it so much that I'm looking into becoming a travel specialist/agent.
I'm not really sure about the process, but I really do love it and would like to see if that's something that I could work on part time.
It would allow me to have a bit of a job in the summers when I'm off teaching, and I could work on it throughout the year after school.
So, if you know anything about that process, let me know!

What I'm watching/reading:

The Voice
I'm not a TV person, but I enjoyed watching The Voice last year at my parents.
Every now and again I remember and turn it on.
I think the judges make the show.
They always have the funniest things to say, and they really like to harass each other.
As successful as they all are, they enjoy giving each other a hard time.

March Madness
My dad, brother and I always fill out a bracket for March Madness.
We enjoy razzing each other throughout March on who is in the lead.
I was all giddy that my winning team was still in as of last Saturday morning.
Then Kansas lost it for me!
I don't watch much of the first half of any of the games, but I enjoy the last 8 minutes of them all.

Sarah Dessen

If you're a reader and enjoy a good realistic fiction book, you need to read Sarah Dessen's books!
I read Lock and Key a while ago, and then recently I read Saint Anything.
I loved those books so much that I just finished What Happened to Goodbye.
This one was my favorite of them all.
A little realistic story with a soft love twist are my favorites.
We have a 40 Book Challenge at school, and I need to be reading fantasy/science fiction books, but I just can't stand them.
If it's not realistic, my mind doesn't understand it.
So, if you have any great fantasy books in mind, let me know!
I need to read some before my students beat me in this challenge!

What I'm listening to:

Good ole XM.
I haven't been listening to anything specific recently, just XM.

What I'm wearing:

It's that time of year where it's starting to be cold in the morning and warmer in the afternoons. 
I've been trying to get one last wear out of my sweaters before packing them away. 

What I'm doing this weekend:

This weekend we have a baby shower and nothing else!
Hooray for another reading and baking filled weekend!

What I'm looking forward to next month:

There isn't anything specific that I'm looking forward to next month. 
The nice weather and sights and sounds of spring seem exciting enough!

What else is new:

Our friend's had their first baby at the beginning of the month.
We are so happy for them and have enjoyed adding a baby to our circle of friends.

What's Your Favorite Spring Wardrobe Piece:

I'm all about cardigans this time of the year!
Monday and Tuesday it was relatively nice out but freezing in my classroom. 
Our school was built partially in ground, so it tends to stay cooler. 
I had a long sleeve top on and a cardigan and a jacket on both days. 
I love to layer, so that in the afternoons when things warm up I can shed a layer.

See you later March!
Hoping for a calm and sunny April!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mystery Meal Cafe

What a weekend!
This weekend it was 70+ degrees, and we had no plans!
Those are my favorite weekends!

On Friday night we visited with friends who just had a baby. 
I got to hold Baby Avery while she slept for nearly two hours! 
How sweet and tiny she is!
What a miracle in what God can do with our bodies!
I'm still amazed at the whole process of birth and life. 

Saturday I forced myself to stay in bed until 7. 
Not that I was sleeping, but I enjoyed just laying there, which isn't something I normally do. 
Alex had to work, so I had the day to myself. 
I was able to do all of our laundry from the week, clean our sheets, sweep, run and read. 
One of my favorite things to do on a nice, sunny, warm day is read.
I'm really loving all of Sarah Dessen's books. 
So I indulged in What Happened to Goodbye for a bit before heading outside to clean up the yard. 
I picked up leaves and sticks and then made Shay's Lemon Bundt cake. 

After that I needed to prep for our evening dinner. 
My aunt is full of great ideas. 
She wowed me last April for my bridal shower

and then I got a text this past week inviting us to dinner. 

This is what she wrote:
Please join us for a dinner party on Saturday March 25 at 5:30 pm
The theme is "You're all heroes in our eyes"
Please dress in attire of one of your favorite heroes or characters.

Unfortunately, Alex was working, so I went with my parents. 
Earlier in the week when Alex asked my brother what he was dressing as, he said me (Beth).
So, I took his smart idea because I knew he wasn't being serious and went with it. 
I decided to dress like him (my brother). 

If you know anything about us, we are pretty much opposites. 
He is loud, big, muscular, likes to stay up late, probably has more shoes than me and is diabetic. 
I had a good time finding all of my props in his room at my parents. 
I wore a Superman shirt, black sweat pants that kept falling down, some Jordan shoes, a Pittsburgh Pirates hat, took his lunch box full of not food but safety glasses, an iPad mini, cards, pens and a bag of Sun Chips, along with his protein shaker, a gallon of water and an old glucose meter.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of us all dressed up, but I do of the dinner. 

We were welcomed to the Mystery Meal Cafe.
Below you will see our menu.

We had three courses and had to look at the menu to the left and arrange what we wanted in the three different course selections to the right.

My aunt put up a sheet as a door from their dining room to the kitchen, so it was like we were actually at a restaurant with the kitchen hidden.

We had no idea what the menu items were. 
They took our order and then brought out each of our courses
Course 1...

 A knife, Reese's egg, thin mint cookie, green bean casserole and some potato chips. 
After finishing course 1, we got course 2...
 This was scrumptious!
Ice cream, tangerine, fork, toothpick, pineapple, strawberry, blueberries and black raspberry.

Finally, we ended with course 3...
Salad, Chicken Divan, carrot cake roll, cheeseburger soup and spoon. 

We were laughing the whole way through. 
Now, you can make the menu so that the descriptions match the item that comes out. 
For instance, #1 on the menu was Titanic's Demise, which would have been an ice cube, but they decided to give us an actual food item instead. 
My aunt used the menu title and actual item for a few things, but they ran out of time, so they had to improvise with some other items. 

She found it on Pinterest, so if you are looking for something fun to do, check it out here

That's it for my weekend. 
Sunday we spent the day outside washing windows and screens and cleaning up our grape arbor. 
The 70 degree weather was phenomenal, even if it did rain a bit. 
I'm hoping the nice weather will continue. 
I love running in the winter, but wow was my run on Saturday so effortless and enjoyable with shorts and a t-shirt...until I got chased by a dog to end out my 4 miles!
Have a great week!
Get out and enjoy that sunshine!!