July Currently

Well, I'm supposed to be packing, but Farley's currently seems like a lot more fun!

1. I've been informed it's the NHL draft.  Hockey in the summer? Makes no sense to me.

2. Self-explanatory, I believe.

3. I consider myself a pretty good packer, until I get in the car and remember the thing I forgot.  Like, a bra. And bobby pins.  Can't really go anywhere without those, can you?

4. Please, thunder-gods, take your wrath somewhere else!

5. Please, house-hunting gods, help us out!

6. That's from Ina Garten, actually, and if Ina says it, you know it has to be right!

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My Favorite Things Linky: Beauty Basics

I didn't start wearing make-up until I was about 14 years old...I was a bit of a tom-boy in middle school and balked against anything girly! I had only male cousins and wanted to prove I could hang with the boys.  Then I went to high school and had to wear a skirt everyday.  I also watched the movie "Clueless." My whole life turned upside down!  I went a little overboard, trying to be Cher, but eventually got the hang of it. Now I'm very protective of my little girls, and have a no-makeup-in-my-classroom  rule.  When they're older, I'll teach them how to do it right.  Link up with Halle to share your beauty story!

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First thing's first- hair.  I was blessed with super-straight shiny brown hair that gets blond and chestnut streaks in the summer, so I've never colored it.  I can wash and go, but it is somewhat fine so it falls flat.  I am always on the hunt for a product that gives me as much volume as a Miss America contestant.  Here's what I use:

I use the So Sexy from Victoria's Secret once a week in the shower as a masque, the Fresh Start when my hair gets greasy (too often!) and the argan oil two or three times a week on my ends.  I am in no way loyal to any volumizer...I go through them and haven't found one I can commit to.

Next, face.  I am 100% Italian, so I tan easily and I rarely get pimples- only during that time of the month.  I'm pretty low maintenance about my face. Here's what I use:

I've been using Neutrogena Deep Clean since I was in 7th Grade.  If they stop making it I don't know what I'll do! Pond's at night, Aveeno in the morning.  Wipes after the gym/beach, exfoliate once a week.  

Next, makeup.  Well, I thought I was low maintenance until I started taking pictures. 

Hmmm.  I see a noticeable lack of pink.  A trip to CVS is in order.  I do bronzer first, always in a backwards 3 motion, then blush on the apples of my cheeks.  

Eyes.  I have brown eyes that I like to play up, so I am constantly mixing colors.

Currently I'm using the bottom left Stila palette the most, but I try to use each at least once during the week.

L'Oreal Telescopic liquid eyeliner is my favorite; it lasts a really long time.  Mascaras may come and go, but I will never ever leave home for a trip without my eyelash curler.  

That's my beauty routine! What's in your cosmetic bag? Link up with Halle!

P.S.  The winner of my Johnny Appleseed and Subject Verb Agreement Pack Giveaway is....Emily from I Love My Classroom!  Congrats, Emily! I'll be emailing you!

P.P.S  Katie Orr over at Mind Sparks is having a huge giveaway- go and check it out!

P.P.P.S.  I'll be away next week, but I wish you a very fun and happy 4th of July!

Monday Made it June 24: Three Recipes and a Giveaway

I did a whole lot of cooking last week, so get ready for a triple-recipe Monday Made It! Really, you could use this Made-It as your menu plan- I'm doing breakfast, dinner, and dessert on this one!  P.S. If you can make it to the end there's a giveaway in store!

1. Blueberry Crumb Bars
Recipe adapted from Sweet Remedy

I posted about these once before, but didn't have a picture, so I am re-posting to show what they actually look like.  I brought these to my mom's new shore house and we ate them with vanilla ice cream...they were delicious!

2 pints fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch

Mix this together, then set aside.

1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks room temperature butter (cook's note- I tried with room temp and cold- room temp works better!)
1 egg
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, spray or grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Mix all dry ingredients with a whisk, then add the egg.  Use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter.  The dough will end up crumbly and somewhat moist.  Pat half of it into the bottom of the pan to form a bottom crust.  Layer the blueberries evenly over the bottom crust, and sprinkle the remaining dough onto the blueberries, spreading it out evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, and cool completely.  Place squares on parchment paper to absorb any dampness, and store in a sealed container.

Next up, we have dinner.  

I made this one night after we came in from the pool and it only took about 30 minutes to whip up- a great weeknight meal! 

Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce
Recipe adapted from Budget Bytes

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into fingers or nuggets, depending on preference
1 large egg
1/4 cup coconut milk (make sure you shake the can!)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (or whatever kind you have)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
vegetable oil for frying

Put flour and salt in a bowl.  Put bread crumbs and coconut in another bowl.  Mix egg and coconut milk in a smaller bowl.  (Cook's note- I meant to bake these but it was too hot! If you bake them, 350 for about 20 minutes.) Put about 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat in your skillet- I use my cast iron to fry but you can use whatever you have.  Keeping one hand clean, dip chicken in egg/milk, then in flour, then in coconut.  (The original recipe says to put all your chicken in the egg or the flour at one time- I tried it and it was too messy.) Then fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness of your chicken.  As you can see, some of my coconut burned.  I will definitely try baking it next time.

Sweet Chili Sauce
2 tbsp Sririacha 
3 tbsp honey

Mix together, adjust to taste.

And finally, you need to listen to this while you read this next recipe.  Trust me.

"Island Time" Coconut-Vanilla-Almond Rice Pudding
Recipe adapted from fffood

I made this on Friday, and I'm still eating it on Monday.  Breakfast, lunch, dessert...it is the perfect summer-time snack.  It smells so tropical and tastes just like you're sitting under a palm tree.  

1 1/2 cups cold cooked rice
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (or, the rest of the can if you make coconut chicken!)
2 cups milk (anything but skim)
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
sweetened shredded coconut

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer, uncovered for 40 minutes.  Let cool in pot with lid closed, another 40 minutes or so.  Chill in fridge- will keep several days. Serve with some shredded coconut on top.

If you made it through those, way to go! Here's what I worked on for school: 

A listening and speaking game to get my kids talking from the first day of school!


a re-make of one of my best-sellers.  I still have the old one if you realllllly want it! 

Want to win these? Tell me what your favorite summer food is in the comments! Mine is lobster, but you knew that already!! Leave your email, and my faithful random number generator will pick a number on Wednesday!

I'm off to the pool!

My Favorite Things Linky: Gettin' Fit

Summer break...what a wonderful feeling! I'm using my Weekly 5 organizer to keep some structure in my life, reading my stack of books, and getting ready for bikini season! I recently found Pure Barre, a ballet/pilates/yoga workout- and I am hooked!

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Here's why I love it...

It's fast paced but not too intense, so someone with major asthma, like me, doesn't have to go running for her inhaler every 10 minutes.  I do sweat a lot, and get red as a tomato- fair warning if you're like me! You warm up with a little bit of cardio and stretching, then use the weights to work out your arms.  Then you do thigh work and seat work at the barre, and ab work on the mat.

I have a favorite instructor, but everyone who works there is so nice and genuinely helpful.  Plus, I've made some friends who go to the same class times as me, and it's really a community atmosphere.

Yeah.  That's a problem (a good one!)...I find myself lifting, tucking, and squeezing throughout the day.  When I was alone in my classroom cleaning it out, I blasted the music and pure barre'd myself until I was worn out.

I've been going for a month and can feel serious changes in my body- I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer will bring!

What do you do to get fit? Link up with Halle!

Monday Made It June 2013

Today was the last day of school! Big exhale. I spent a long time cleaning my classroom and getting it ready for the summer.  I'll be back in a few weeks for summer school, but everything had to be put away.  Here's how it looked on Friday in the midst of the chaos.

 If you're following me on instagram (everyonedeservestolearn) you can see what it looked like at the end of the last day.

Now for Monday Made It!

1. School

I gave my teaching partner a thank-you gift, not only because she was a great friend, listener, advice-giver, and amazing teacher, but also because I saw something in a store and thought of her! My husband doesn't like when that happens.  Neither does my Mint.com app. I didn't exactly make anything here...just put it together.
Dress: Target
Cup: Charming Charlie
Printable: Commona-my house

2. Home

School is over and I still have a to-do list a mile long.  It's summer! Relax already! (Says my inner Bob Marley.) I think this next made-it will help.  I originally saw this on a Five for Friday or a Monday Made It a few weeks (months?) ago, didn't save it, and couldn't find it so I made my own. ETA:  It's from Doodle Bugs Teaching- click here to see her version of the Weekly 5.  Thanks to Halle for finding the source!

The premise is that rather than make a miles-long to-do list like yours truly tends to do, pick 5 things a day to do.  I already have enough printed for the summer!  Click on the picture to download from Google Drive.

3. Food

With all the rain we've had, the basil and mint in my garden is growing out of control! I've made these before and will be making them for summer school- they are awesome summer cookies.

Lemon Basil Sugar Cookies
adapted from Branny Boils Over 

1 stick butter, room temp
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of one lemon
2 tbsp finely chopped basil (optional)- I leave out if I make them for kids
1 tbsp finely chopped mint (optional) - I leave out if I make them for kids
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Lemon Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar (plus more to taste)
1/4 cup water (plus more to taste)
juice of 1 lemon (plus more to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place parchment paper on 2 baking sheets.  Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add egg, lemon zest, vanilla, basil, and mint.  Mix well.  Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until a dough is formed- it won't take long.  Using fingers or a spoon, press dough onto baking sheets in small circles.  Bake for 8 minutes for soft cookies, up to 12 for crispy cookies.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then let cool completely on a wire rack.

Glaze: After the cookies have cooled completely, mix the lemon juice and water together.  Stir in the powdered sugar, until a glaze has formed.  Adjust all ingredients to taste and consistency. 

I'm off to work on my "5's the limit" to-do list! Happy summer!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: Beach Day!

Sometimes I wish I lived in a Jimmy Buffett song, where margaritas, cheeseburgers, flip flops and sunglasses are standard protocol.  I don't, unfortunately, but I will take any chance I can to think about, talk about, look at, or go to the beach! So I am thrilled to link up with Halle for her My Favorite Things Linky.

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In my family, we do Breakfast on the Beach.  It starts with a trip here: 

That means we get on the beach nice and early with our beach chairs.

We've been going to the same street for years, so there's hardly a weekend in the summer when you won't find an enormously obnoxious semi-circle of beach chairs staking a claim on the sand.  That's my family!

On Long Beach Island, the ice cream men come up on the beach and ring bells to advertise that the trucks have come.  No beach day is complete without hearing the tinkle of ice cream bells.

My Poppy used to always watch for dolphins, so I do that too.  But when I'm not staring at the horizon or chatting with family or friends, I'm reading.  I have tried reading grad school books or teaching books, but they don't keep my attention. It's got to be chick lit... I leave the real stuff for a rainy day.

Lobster + bay/ocean view = perfection.  Especially after a day at the beach! If I can't have lobster, I'll settle for happy hour with friends followed by mini golf or a board game on the porch. But if I could have all of the above? Whoa. That would be better than life in a Jimmy Buffett song.

So now you know where I'll be in July and August! What does your beach/pool day look like? Link up with Halle!

These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things: Morning Must Haves

I am actually a morning person! I do my best work in the morning and usually spring right out of bed.  I love getting to school nice and early to get work done.  Here are some of my morning must-haves.

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First up, my getting-ready routine.  I curl my eyelashes and go through about three eyelash curlers a year. I wear those things out!  This one is on its last legs.
Every good Italian should have Nutella for breakfast.  It's in our DNA.  But when I'm not running late and slathering it on a waffle to eat in the car, I eat Cheerios.

I like to watch the weather on TV- I never check it on my phone.  I usually leave my house between 6:50 and 7:10, depending on what I have to do at school, so sometimes I don't get to it but I am happy when I do!  You can tell the days I don't watch the weather...I'm dressed wrong!
 I get to school, turn on Pandora, and check my emails.  I need a little music motivation to get me through the work I have to do before kids come in!

What are your morning must-haves?  Link up with Halle!

Teaching Compare and Contrast with ReadWorks

There's no time like the present to get my second graders ready for the major comparing and contrasting they'll be doing in third grade!

As I was planning my lesson on comparing and contrasting versions of Stone Soup, I realized  that my students probably don't have much background in the actual vocabulary of compare and contrast, so I went on a search to find it.  Lo and behold, ReadWorks' first 2nd grade CompCon learning goal says this "Students will identify similarities and differences using key words!"

ReadWorks is free to join, and you can search by state standard, grade, and/or topic. 

I downloaded the two reading passages that came with the lesson, and saved them to my OneNote. (That's a Microsoft Office program we use at our school instead of paper.  No joke.)  When class started, I put the students in partners and introduced the concept of comparing and contrasting by asking them to tell me what was the same and what was different about them.  We moved on to orally comparing and contrasting things in the room, which just took a few minutes.  Finally, I put up the first passage, called "My Brother and I."

The great thing about this passage is that the key words were bolded, italicized, or underlined, which is a great second language strategy to begin with.  I used my digital pen to circle the ones I wanted the kids to look at, which they could see on the whiteboard over my shoulder.  We made a T-chart to tell which words meant same/compare, or different/contrast.  It was a simple activity that had a big impact for them.  The reading was at a good instructional level for them, and I read it out loud, underlining or circling with my pen so they wouldn't get lost on the big screen.

Next, I introduced the concept of a Venn Diagram, which they had seen before.  I am planning on moving away from Venn Diagrams in my class, and using more H-Diagrams, to make their writing neater and more organized.  While I was explaining the H-Diagram, one of my smarties said, "I know one!" and drew this on our whiteboard:

An "E" diagram.  How smart! 
I was over the moon excited.  That prompted a teachable moment discussion about all the letters we could possibly use to create compare and contrast diagrams, so we spent a few minutes up at the board doodling geometric/block letters.  "What fun!" as my second graders would say.

As a final guided and independent practice, we read the second story that comes with the lesson, called "Moving to a New Town."  I let them draw H-Diagrams on their whiteboards- they wanted E-Diagrams, but this is a teach-ocracy, so I overruled them.  We will try E-Diagrams.  And I.  And J.  And W.  And all the other cool ones we came up with!

I projected the second lesson, and used my highlighter to track as I read out loud.  They used the key words chart to find words that showed similarities or differences, then added those to their diagrams. 

I was so proud of them- they really did a fantastic job.  Now that we've learned to compare and contrast, we'll practice using some multicultural versions of Stone Soup.  

Have you ever tried ReadWorks? How do you teach the concept of comparing and contrasting?

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