Category Archives: Pinterest

Classroom Maintanence

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Here’s a few more little Pinterest gems I use that make our classroom routines a little smoother.

Job Flip Chart

Now this one didn’t exactly come from Pinterest, but it’s how I do things. For the week, I choose a girl and a boy helper. They do all of the classroom “jobs” that we need (line leader, hand sanitizer, bathroom monitor, etc). This is how I keep up with it. It’s just index cards that are hole-punched with a big ring. Done!

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Lunch Choice Magnets

I found these little gems last year at The Dollar Tree and used them for Daily Data. This year I bought another set, spray painted them to match (they come in a set of blue, pink, grey, and black), and labeled a Dollar Tree cookie sheet to keep track of our lunch choices. This is also a super easy way to notice who is absent first thing in the morning.

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Sign-Out Board

Last year I used a pocket chart for this. Students inserted a blue card if they were at the restroom, red if they were out. I liked how I could look at the board and easily know how was out. Students could also see if another student was already in the restroom (we go as needed when I’m not giving instruction). However, it didn’t take long for the little pockets to get torn up, no matter how many times I laminated them. So enter this Pinterest idea.

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Now this hasn’t been perfect. I’m having issues with students taking a LONG time to write their names (and add stars… or hearts… or squiggles… or… whatever!), so I’ve had to spend some time explaining it’s purpose (and not it’s purpose) and being a “mean teacher” by enforcing what I’ve said. “If you have time to draw, you don’t really need to go. Sit down.”

Felt Footies

I saw this all over Pinterest and thought there is no way that is going to last. However, after watching my floor quickly turn to a dull shade of grey yet again, I decided to give it a try. I bought colored felt from Hobby Lobby (to match each table color). I recruited my brother to cut them into fourths. Then as a class, we put them on our chairs. The idea was that if the students put them on the chairs themselves, they would be more likely to keep up with them.

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So here’s how it’s going. First of all, the “buying in” really worked. The students spent their own time putting them on and they genuinely keep an eye out for them; making sure they are still on, putting them back on if necessary. Score! And even better, they are actually keeping the floor clean. I’ve already had several compliments from the custodians that my floor is looking pretty good. Of course, if a pencil lead or crayon tip gets caught under a foot, it’s still nice and scratched across the floor, but what cha gonna do?

Despite the general success, I have learned a few things about them that I hope to pass on to you! First, having the students put them on was great for buy-in, but they did not get them on as tightly as needed. They were popping off that day. So I did have to go back and redo those myself. Second, if you keep the rubber band too close to the foot, you create a large flap that can be stepped on. My solution was to put the rubber band on more like this:

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Make sure the flaps are tucked in. Now this fixed the problem for most of my students, but my more active ones still step all over theirs. The other solution would be to cut them smaller.

Feeling inspired? Try one and let me know how it works for you!

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Handlettering on a Chalkboard

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This has become one of my favorite projects. When I got married, my new team gave me a gift card to Home Goods. I wasn’t sure what to get with it, so I carried it around for the longest time. I finally settled on a huge, framed chalkboard. There’s a great spot for it in my “kitchen,” and I figured it’d be a good way to display motivational phrases and lyrics. PLUS I saw this awesome pin on Pinterest about how chalk lettering was so easy!

The Process:

The tip I picked up from several blogs was to create a design and print it out. I used Microsoft Publisher, since I became so familiar with it over the summer. Really. It’s much easier than Word for poster, worksheets, etc. Any way, print it out to life-size. IMG_3676[1]

Now here’s the trick: rub the back of your printed paper with chalk. I had better luck tracing over the general outline of the design on the back than just rubbing across the whole thing. It will give you cleaner lines and guarantee you don’t miss anything.

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Can you see a little chalk on there? Anyway, then comes the first long tedious part, flip it onto your chalkboard and trace the whole thing with a dull pencil.

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This takes awhile and some back strength. Your cat may even be bored out of her mind.

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But it’s worth it because when you remove the paper you have this lovely outline!

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And now, long, draw-out, tedious part 2: trace it again!

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By the way, if you haven’t seen this hand trick on Pinterest, it was a big help! It really works!!!

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The Result:

You end up with this beautifully designed and polished piece, ready for display in your home.

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The Review:

Overall, this idea is pretty simple with a stunning result, but it takes A LOT of time and a good deal of patience. The outline takes out a lot of the guesswork, but a steady hand is still a plus. Also, instead of using one big paper, you can cut the words apart and work on them individually. This makes filling the whole space a little easier (if you are working with a big surface), but there was something about it I just didn’t care for…

Here are some other pieces I did.

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Try it yourself and let me know how it goes!

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Listerine Foot Soak-A Guest Post

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I’m super excited to have my first guest blogger. It’s none other than my friend who inspired me into the blogging world, Alyssa from Two-Thirds Scarlett. Here’s her latest misadventure from Pinterest:

If you’ve ever read my blog, (Two-Thirds Scarlett, shameless plug),then you know I’m not what you call “crafty”.  Very rarely do I attempt anything on Pinterest.  But this little home remedy was so easy I had to try it.

I have really dry, cracked feet from wearing nothing but sandals for months.  Not very pretty.  This “miracle” pin said:

“Mix 1/4 c Listerine (any kind but I like the blue), 1/4 c vinegar and 1/2 c of warm water. Soak feet for 10 minutes and when you take them out the dead skin will practically wipe off.”

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First off, I had to double all the “ingredients” to even make a puddle deep enough to soak my piggies in.  Ten minutes later…nothing.  NO change.  No softening.  No dead skin falling off like snow (sorry for the visual).  The only thing I accomplished was making my feet smell minty fresh.  And they were tingly so that was kind of nice.

Long story short: Pinterest FAIL.  Don’t waste your time (or your mouth wash for that matter).  Apparently the real miracle home remedy is applying Vicks Vapor Rub or Vaseline to your feet and then just…putting on socks.  Surely Chris has a pair he wouldn’t mind sacrificing…


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Thanks, Alyssa, for being my first guest blogger and sharing your Pinterest adventure with us!

Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

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Week night dinner! Add to the mix that I have some how managed to injure my back and that means I need a much less “involved” recipe. Well, I found this post awhile ago, so we picked up some Hawaiian Sweet Rolls on a trip to Walmart, and we’re ready to roll!

Here’s a link to the original blog at Better Recipes.

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The Process:

Right off the bat, I had this pictured all wrong. I assumed it was a 9×9 pan that made 4 burgers. Then I got to thinking about it and realized those would be full-sized burgers. Well, then I actually READ the recipe. It calls for a 9×13 pan and 2 lbs of ground sirloin. Ah. It’s beginning to make sense. Alas, I only had one pound of ground chuck thawed and it’s only the hubs and I anyway, so I would just tone it down.

I’m just going to go ahead and say, I had no intentions of following the directions on preparing the hamburger meat. In fact, there’s another recipe that has a fabulous slider taste that I planned on using. Of course, like any “good cook,” I just eye-balled it instead of measuring. For me it’s all about the smell! So my hamburger meat got some bread crumbs, some dry minced onions (I never have the real stuff in the house), a dash of Worcestershire, and (per the hubs request) ground garlic pepper. I mixed all that together in the pan and pressed it down. This was a little more trying than I expected since I used a glass pan, but I eventually got it all spread out and smushed together. Finally, another sprinkle of ground garlic pepper and into the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Now my first thought with this was about grease. I mean, in a frying pan I end up with a puddle of grease, so won’t the same thing happen? Well, I was right. I ended up with a big cooked patty surrounded by grease. For the record, this is probably due in part to using ground chuck instead of sirloin, but still. Luckily I was able to hold the patty in place with a spatula and drain it into the sink. Problem solved!

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Then I had another surprise. The Hawaiian Sweet Rolls I bought… I was quite thrilled because they were already cut as “hamburger buns.” I thought, “How convenient! It’s like they knew I was coming.” But what I failed to notice was they were actually hamburger-sized hamburger buns, so no sliders tonight. Just hamburgers. So I ended up cutting the big patty just as I expected: into 4 patties. No big deal. Still had leftovers and didn’t feel like a fatty putting two hamburgers on my plate 😉

The Result:

So now I know you’re dying to know how they came out. Well, here it is! It was quite tasty, even though it wasn’t a slider. Also, the process was really simple. It certainly beats standing over a frying pan and there’s no point starting up a grill for two burgers. I think it was the nice onion flavor in the burger and the Hawaiian Sweet Roll bun that made it fabulous.

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(… maybe I need to do something with that flour left out from my cookie experiment.)

The Review:

  • Yummy! But most of the flavor came from the onion, Worcestershire, and Hawaiian Sweet Roll.
  • Pay attention to the buns you buy!
  • A much easier alternative to cooking burgers on a stove.

Overall, I recipe I plan to repeat!

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Here’s a link to the original blog at Better Recipes.

Firecracker Lofthouse Cookies

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I had a get-together to attend this weekend and wanted to bring something. I scoured my extensive Pinterest boards and finally settled on attempting these projects in combination.

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The fourth of July is coming up, so I wanted to try out this Pop-Rock sprinkle idea and Lofthouse house cookies are my all-time favorite, so I was curious if I could pull off these delectable treats myself! Turns out, I can!!!

Here’s the original recipe that I used from Authentic Suburban Gourmet, or here’s is a printable PDF: Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar

The Process:

Assembling the ingredients was pretty basic for a cookie dough; no surprises there. Although, it would have gone much smoother if I actually had a paddle attachment and an actually Kitchen-Aid mixer. (If Kitchen-Aid would like to sponsor me in return for some good blogging, I wouldn’t object!) For some reason my little Sunbeam just isn’t up to the task of mixing dough and I ended up transferring the wet ingredients into a bigger bowl to blend with the dry. Overall though, I was surprised how easy it did blend together, even with my sad equipment.

Getting it onto the plastic wrap to refrigerate was fun since this is by far the STICKIEST DOUGH I have EVER worked with, but wasn’t too difficult. I managed, and chilled it over night. Then came the fun part: rolling, cutting, baking!

As mentioned before, this is THE STICKIEST DOUGH I’ve EVER worked with, so it required a LOT of flour and a second attempt at rolling it out. Luckily, the recipe called for cutting the dough in half , so I just balled that puppy back up, popped it in the fridge, and pulled out the other nicely chilled batch. The problem I ran into with the first attempt was I used my counter top and apparently did not flour it enough. I made it all the way to cutting the cookies, but when I went to transfer them to the cookie sheet, they would not come off the counter. I ended up having to use my scrapper for cleaning baking stones to get it all back together. (No pictures of that, sorry). Anyway, on the second attempt I used parchment paper and LOTS of flour, so I had no issues.

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I ended up using a drinking glass to get nice, big cookies (as recommended in the blog). For the most part, it worked great. But I did end up spraying the rim of the glass with baking spray to keep it from sticking and had to clean it off quiet a bit to keep the cuts nice and smooth. This got easier the faster I was able to work with the dough. The longer the dough was out, the more it returned to a sticky mess. The morale here: work with it quickly and efficiently to avoid stickiness.

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Then came the baking! I live an apartment with an oven that I have literally super-glued the handle back on to, so needless to say, it’s not the most reliable appliance. I’m still learning how to make it do exactly what I want. But after figuring out it actually heats itself up 25 degrees warmer than you set it, I’ve gotten much better. Now if I could just figure out how to get the center of cakes to cook correctly…. Anyway, all that to show you the difference a minute or two can make. The batch on the left was cooked for 10 minutes. Notice the golden brown color; yeah, you don’t want that for these cookies. They should stay nice and pale: almost no color change at all, like the batch on the right (8 minutes). For the record, the golden brown cookies weren’t “ruined.” They just didn’t have the same consistency as Lofthouse cookies. They were a little more crunchy on the outside, but still nice and soft on the inside. (Hey look! There’s my Sunbeam stand mixer, with the mixer pulled off.)

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I ended up with 4.5 dozen cookies, using every last bit of dough (you need that .5 for tasting purposes. Can’t take something to a party you’ve never tasted, and you certainly can’t take an odd number of cookies. That just wouldn’t be acceptable!)

Decorating:

So Friday when I bought all the supplies was a pretty bad day and I didn’t feel like fighting with my sad mixer for dough AND frosting, so I opted for store bought. Then came the hunt for Pop Rocks. I was pretty sure that I could find them at The Dollar Tree, but after about 20 minutes of searching the one candy aisle, I was about to settle on a knock-off super hero version of “popping candy.” Then thankfully I noticed something in one of the bins… What’s this? It says Pop-Rocks? Ah, it’s masquerading in it’s retro 1970 packaging…. Thank you original Pop-Rocks for adding to my long day… But I had them!

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My mother and I started an assembly line of frosting, sprinkling, and …. pop-rocking. The overall result was pretty adorable:

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(please ignore the seashells on my counter….)

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Cute, right?

The Taste

And now the big moment: Do they live up to their namesake? The answer: heck yes! They were fabulous and just like a Lofthouse cookie. Then to top it off, the compliment I got over and over again was that they weren’t too sweet, although I think that was due to the store-bought icing.

The only disappointment was the Pop-Rock topping. After first making them, the Pop-Rocks were kind of fun. They added a little pop, but not much. Also, I had some concerns about the Pop-Rocks being cherry flavored, but I couldn’t taste that at all. But the major downside was Pop-Rocks on icing don’t keep! I decorated the cookies a couple hour before the party, and after putting them in a covered container, the Pop-Rocks ended up with a melted look. The batch I left out on the counter (open-air) didn’t “melt” so much, but certainly lost their power. The result: no one knew there were Pop-Rocks on the cookies 😦 Oh well.

Oh, and here’s what I’ve ended up with after 2 days in a sealed container. The icing feels just like it did coming out of the container. These are certainly cookies that need to breathe. But the good thing is leaving them out doesn’t dry out the cookies.IMG_3589[1]

The Review:

  • The cookie recipe lived up to it’s name, but the process was a little involved. But if you’ve worked with rolling out and cutting cookies before, you’ll have no problem.
  • Flour, flour, and more flour! Protect anything that touches the dough!
  • The more efficient you are with a rolling pin and cookie cutter, the less time you’ll spend in sticky dough.
  • Do not overcook them or you’ll loose the Lofthouse texture.
  • Keep the cookies in open air rather than an air-tight container (I know. Backwards, right?)
  • If decorating with Pop-Rocks, add them shortly before serving.
  • I also had an issue with the contrast of colors in the sprinkles and Pop-Rocks. If I revisit this idea, I’ll probably use this Pinterest recommendation instead:

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Your turn! This really was a fun cooking adventure.

Here’s the original recipe that I used from Authentic Suburban Gourmet, or here’s is a printable PDF: Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar

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Spring Wreath

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I live in an apartment, so I don’t have much say in what the outside of my home looks like. That’s how I fell in love with front door wreaths! It just sets the mood for the home you’re about to enter.

So here’s the inspiration I found on Pinterest:

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Nice and simple, right? I thought so. Perfect for several seasons.

Supplies:

  • grapevine wreath
  • burlap
  • wooden letter (or numbers)
  • paint
  • a few artificial flowers
  • hot glue
  • floral wire (or another idea for a hook)

I got all my supplies from Michael’s. It pretty easy to catch the florals on sale at any given point. I got individual stems of daisies for half off. Oh, and if you haven’t downloaded the Michael’s app on your smartphone, DO! There are always digital coupons they can scan at the register right from your phone. You can pretty much count on there being a 40% off any regular priced item at any given point, so I got the wreath for 40% too. I love getting a good deal 🙂

The process:

Simple enough. Remove the flower head from the stem and hot glue in place. Paint your letter and hot glue in place. Tie a bow with a piece of burlap (always start with more than you think you’ll need. It’s easier to trim down than start over) and hot glue in place. Finally, create a hook for the back. I use floral wire to create a loop and twist onto the wreath.

So here’s my finished product:

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Review:

Super simple project with very nice results. The cost was very low for something I’m very pleased with.

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Colorful Stenciled Table

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This was by far my biggest Pinterest project to date. I had a dining room table set that was given to me by a friend when I moved into my apartment. It was in pretty good shape, but the wood was a little light for my taste and it definitely needed to be refinished. So when I came across this idea on Pinterest, I figured I’d give it a try.

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So here’s what I started with:

IMG_3442And now the worst part… Sanding!

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Sanding by far took the bulk of time in this project. I used a 60 grain sandpaper and a combination of power sanding and hand sanding. (as you can see, I had to enlist some help from my brother on the chairs). This process took almost a full week since I was working on the table and all four chairs. If you were to just do the table, it would take much less time.

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And now the fun part! Although I loved the paisley pattern from the original blog, I could not afford $55 for a fancy stencil and another $11 for shipping. So I hopped on over to Hobby Lobby and found a fun pattern that I liked and a paisley pattern for the chairs (the fabric was a bit of a splurge, but still on sale!).

I recovered the chairs first (since I could do that without disturbing my neighbors at the apartment complex). If you’ve never done it, it’s really very easy. A staple gun and a screw driver is all you need. Of course, I didn’t exactly do a “proper” job a recovering them (new batting and the whole 9 yards), but you get the idea.

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Stencil time! About the only product I needed that I already had was white paint. Of course, it wasn’t exactly “white paint.” It was oil-based primer leftover from a previous project. I figured the oil-base would definitely grab on to the wood and create a texture that would be better for holding the stain. So I had  a friend roll on this design for me while I painted the legs.

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We made it a little easier on ourselves and did a random pattern.

And now, the staining! I used Miniwax Dark Walnut with a brush. This was also super easy. The only hitch we ran into is we decided to blot the stenciled design as we stained because it was getting very dark. I’m thinking this was a result of using primer instead of paint, but it worked out. It only took two coats.

We debated on dry brushing the legs with stain to give it a more subtle look, but I was too in love with the color to tone it down. (I LOVE COLOR!)

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Finally, I used an amazing product called Polycrylic to seal the whole thing. I really took my time, let it dry completely, and put on several coats. I did two coats and sanded with a 400 grain paper in between on the chairs and table legs (VERY gently). The tabletop, however, got about 4 coats, for obvious reasons. This is a product I swear by! Very easy to use. Quick clean up. Great finish! The only issue I had was when I was coating the chairs, the product started to foam with all the brush strokes, so I had to make sure to clean that off before leaving it to dry.

Ta-da! The finished product! I’m quiet thrilled with the way it turned out.

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So if you’re thinking about this project yourself, here are some things you should know:

  • This can become an expensive project very quickly if you don’t have a lot of supplies on hand. Having to buy stain, paint, Polycryclic, brushes, fabric, etc. easily added up to $100.
  • Sanding sucks! Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but it was dreadful. A power-sander made a huge difference, but I highly recommend starting with an unfinished table or recruiting a burly husband-type to do that part. Also, I did try a chemical stripper, but it was a complete bust. Another reason the cost added up so quickly.

Now go find something of your own!

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