Welcome to the fabulous and sometimes insane life
of a working mother who is trying hard not to
let her whole existence be determined by her
cute little munchkins, yet continues to be drawn
in by the adorable and sometimes annoying tiny people!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Okay! I am the first to admit that I am super clumsy. I mean it takes talent to trip over a flat surfaces and clearly I am swimming in talent, because not only can I trip over flat surfaces but I can also slip out of chairs and accidentally poke myself in the eye...with my own finger. (Seriously, I have done it before!) 
So if all of that takes talent then today I should have been receiving the Oscar award for Best Stunt Actress....except it wasn't a stunt. I wish I had had a stunt woman to replace me this morning and then she would be in pain and not me. 

What had happened was...
It was a cold, dark, and rainy morning. It had been raining for what seemed like years, yet in all actuality was only a couple of days. We were running late...of course, we were running late. What else would we be doing on a Monday morning?

Anyway, as we headed up the perilous steps intothe building. Perilous because there are many of them that are not really all that steep at all but do have varying heights which could confused some of the less coordinated individuals, such as myself, who might venture up them. Point is....they were perilous!

My oldest munchkin asked me a question and I turned to answer her. This was mistake #2. Turning head while walking never results in something good. I have known myself for 34 years now and I should know never to take my eyes off of steps when I am walking. What was mistake #1, you might ask. Walking up the stairs on a cold, dark, and rainy morning.

No sooner had I whipped my head around when I missed a step. Actually, I didn't miss it. I step on it. Well, I step on the edge and my foot slipped and I fell forward. Now this would not have been nearly as bad, had I been able to brace myself. Alas, both of my hands were full. One with a steaming hot, zebra print cup of coffee. Therefore, there was nothing to break my fall as I slammed down onto the extremely hard concrete.

Needless to say, it #&@*ing hurt!!! And I could not help the few profanities that then slipped out of my mouth. I was just thinking how thankful I was that my children were the only ones around when I looked up to see a father coming out of the building. Luckily, I think he was too distracted by the laughing coming from the group of children coming up the stairs behind me to hear.

Once I got inside I ran into my principal, who, when she saw my soaking wet clothes and my limping, informed me that I needed to fill out an accident report. So I followed her to her office where she began to write up the report. When I told her I tripped up the stairs, she started laughing. Seriously?!?!? That made it sooooooo much better!

By the end of the day, the story had made it through half of the school. I could always tell who had heard it by looking at the smile on their face as they passed me in the hallway. Hey, what can I say? I told you I was talented! Talented....with a few scrapes and bruises added in!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Embracing My Talents

I have been teaching for over 12 years. And during those 12 years I have tried everything to get out of it. There has got to be something better to do. Something that can make more money, get more respect, and have more days off! Alas, I have yet to find that "something".

What I have found is that I am quite good at teaching. I don't mean to sound cocky, but I seemed to have a knack for not only teaching but getting kids to learn. I guess it is because I do whatever I can to entertain them because when they are entertained they are engaged and when they are engaged they are enlivened and when they are enlivened they are encourage to perform to their utmost potential.

So I am finished trying to find other things to do. I will no longer try to get out of teaching to write or blog or teach Zumba or paint or opening my own store or ...whatever else I thought could get me more money, more respect, and more days off.

I am Embracing My Talents. I am going to start blogging about teaching and would love you to follow Tricks of the Trade to follow this part of my crazy, insane, but most of the time satisfying life. And if this blogging leads to something more...well...(hopefully) we will cross that bridge when we get there!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Newest Hobby

My husband tells me all the time to try to get us out of debt. He swears with all of my hobbies and "talents" there must be something that can make us millionaires and get us out of teaching permanently. One can only dream!

Anyways...I have dabbled in writing, painting, crafts, DIY projects, couponing, more writing, party planning, song writing, blogging...you get the point. The problem is my ADHD kicks in and I lose interest in whatever project I am involved in.

So what is my latest hobby... CAKES.

I got the urge one day to bake a cake. It was my niece's birthday and I wanted to make the cake. I had never made more than a pound cake and the one time I tried to ice something it was an absolute disaster. But I wanted to try fondant.

I had no clue how to do it, but that is what Google and YouTube is for...RIGHT?!?!

I created a sleep over cake complete with a bed and four sleeping babes. I used pound cake, butter cream, and marshmallow fondant. I used Swiss Cake rolls for the little bodies and rolled fondant for their heads. I painted a piece of cardboard to make a headboard.

A week later it was my parents' birthday. No, I didn't make a grammatical error. They do, in fact, have the same birthday. So I offered to make the cake. This time was definitely better. I did much more research about fondant and the result, whereas not perfect, was too cute and oh so good. 

Next up was the Super Bowl. I stuck with the pound cake but got a little better with the fondant. 

Luckily my 7 year old daughter knew roman numerals!!

My latest creation was for a friend of mine's daughter's 3rd birthday. I used pound cake again except for this time it was homemade. I used Rice Krispie treats to make the Minnie Mouse head. It is definitely not perfect, but with my ADHD impatient self...it might be as close as I can get. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pizza Roll Ups

*Adapted from a recipe I found on Pinterest

2 Cans of Crescent Rolls
Pizza sauce
Pepperoni slices
Mozzarella Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Parmasean Cheese
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Salt
Red Pepper Flakes

First unroll crescent rolls and pinch together the seams.

Next spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the crescent rolls.

Layer cheese on top.

Next lay pepperoni slices until they cover the rolls and then sprinkle with seasonings to taste.

Carefully roll them up length wise so that you have a long roll.

Place on grease baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Slice, serve, and enjoy.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Number Forms

My teaching style received a major revamp a few years ago when I went through Singapore Math training. Not only did the way I teach math change, but so did the way I thought about math. These principles of understanding the why in numbers does astonishing things to students mathematical minds.

One of the fundamental concepts that students in grades 2-4 must understand is that of Number Forms. Here is my 4 day standard-based unit on PowerPoint that includes songs, interactive lessons, use of manipulatives, videos... Check it out!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Backyard Water Park

Every year, starting in May, the weekend rolls around and we pull out the Slip-n-Slides, sprinklers, and blow up pools. Our children are entertain for hours while we relax and enjoy some frozen beverages. We affectionately call it "The Redneck Water Park".

So when my oldest child turned 7 last year, we decided to put our weekend fun to good use. We threw a party at the "Backyard Water Park". It was so easy and the kids loved it!

First I started with the invite, which I pieced together with things I found online. All though I think I could have drawn it myself (maybe next year).

Then I started planning decorations. Banners, signs, streamers...

I even did a table with beach towels and sunscreen.

Next it was time for the food. We had pigs-in-a-blanket, sandwiches, sausage balls, pretzels sticks dipped in white chocolate, and cupcakes.

I made sponge balls using sponges from the Dollar Tree that I cut up and then put together using rubber bands. The kids had so much fun throwing them at each other. 

These are the best and only water guns I will ever buy. They are from the Dollar Tree and are so super awesome! We have had some fro a few years now. 

Instead of spending a ton of money on party favors I just for these water bottles from .... wait for it....The Dollar Tree and painted the kids names on them. Now they can use them and use them again!

After the set up and clean up, this party was so easy! The kids entertained themselves and we enjoyed their fun. Some of the parents even got involved with the fun!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chicken Delicious

The great thing about this Slow Cooker recipe...you don't have to defrost!

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
celery salt
Cream of Celery soup
Cream of Mushroom soup
1/3 cup Sherry
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in slow cooker. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and celery salt to taste. In a separate bowl, mix together soups and Sherry. Pour over chicken and then sprinkle cheese on top. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Break apart chicken and serve over rice.

*This made enough for two nights. For the second night, I put the chicken and sauce into a baking dish and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. I swear it was better the second night.

Learning Place Value

I don't normally blog about teaching. In fact most of my career has been spent trying to find something else to do that makes more money and makes less stress and earns more respect.

But as I have come into my own over the last 12 years, I have come to find the enjoyment in teaching. And that enjoyment comes from engaging and encouraging the children that I love...the children that I consider my own.

I have also become quite creative and resourceful, especially with PowerPoint presentations and songs. And when I graduated recently with my Educational Specialist degree in Instructional Technology and Design, it was with a thorough understanding of the importance of incorporating technology into student learning.

I now put every unit I teach into a 3-5 day PowerPoint unit complete with songs, videos, games, interactive manipulatives, proven teaching strategies, test practice and tons of graphics and animations.

My husband has been on me for a long time about trying to make money off of my creativeness. I have started so many books about everything from teaching to couponing to reasons for hating teaching...all of which sit on my computer unfinished. (My ADD tends to really get in the way sometimes.)

So when I discovered TeachersPayTeachers I thought I would try it out. Why not get paid for all of this hard work?

I posted my first PowerPoint presentation yesterday for free, and now I am just waiting to see if it will get enough hits to be worth paying the $59.99 it costs for a membership.

Learning about and understanding Place Value is the most important concept students can accomplish in elementary school. Everything revolves around it. The PowerPoint is more than just a presentation. It is a 4 day standards based unit that incorporates Singapore Math teaching strategies while providing concrete examples with interactive manipulatives and standardized test practice.
Here is a little preview. To see and download the whole unit on PowerPoint please visit my TPT store.