Friday

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! With a work day on Monday and unexpected snow days on Tuesday, Thursday, and today, this week was nice and fast. I can handle school weeks where we only have students one day. 😉

As is tradition, five favorites from my week are below! Let’s gooooo, weekend!

one. So, if you remember from a couple weeks back, I mentioned getting a surprise visit from my K-State aide student who I thought I wasn’t going to have. She popped in (without a heads up from K-State) and I put her right to work! Well, on Sunday, I got an email from another KSU student saying she was so excited to be in my classroom this semester and wanted to meet to set up a schedule with me.

I thought, whoa, whoa, whoa. I only signed up for one student helper. I wasn’t ready to handle two! In addition, this new girl would be coming to me for her Block 2 work, which meant she would be in my room a lot and there would be a lot of paperwork, etc. for me to do for her, as it is the semester before you student teach. I quickly emailed my principal to get it figured out, assuming K-State had made a mistake and just didn’t realize that I already had a student aide for the semester.

Well, it was no mistake actually. I think K-State has a hard time finding teachers who want to take in students to work with so they loaded me with two! After a few emails to the KSU coordinator, it is now taken care of, and the girl is getting a new placement with a teacher who doesn’t have an aide yet. Wheh! That would have made for a hectic end of the semester!

two. On Monday, after our PLC/Work day, I jokingly told my coworkers that since it was getting so cold, maybe we would luck out and get a snow day on Tuesday. One of our team members even did a little lucky snow day dance and we laughed, not assuming it would actually happen.

On Tuesday, I woke up at normal time, got ready, and headed down to my kitchen for breakfast to notice that I had a missed call from our Wamego school alert number. I checked it and saw that we had a two-hour delay due to the freezing, icy rain that we had gotten Monday night. I made myself some tea and let myself read before I finished getting ready. Then, about thirty minutes later, I got another call that school was canceled because of the bad road conditions. (Travis said it wasn’t actually that bad, but I guess they were being extra cautious).

Then, on Thursday morning, I again woke up to a notification that we would have a two-hour delay and received a new call later that school was actually cancelled! Woohoo!

I was actually ready to go back by Friday, but again, I’m not complaining for an extra long weekend!

It didn’t look bad out (not much snow and just a little ice) either day, but nevertheless, I’m not one to complain about a snow day. They are one hundred times better as a teacher. 🙂 I’ve told Travis that us getting way more snow days than usual this year is because God realizes that I have a rough group of kids this year, and it’s his way of saying “sorry, I know this year sucks”. I think of each one as a little gift (or an olive branch of apology) saying that I will make it through. 😉

three. Instead of having a lazy day on Tuesday, I decided to be productive, and I got so much done! I did some blogging, organized my closet and got rid of some stuff.

It’s a squeeze to fit all of my shoes in, but I’m loving how organized my closet looks now!

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Then, I was motivated to move around decorations in our upstairs guest bedroom, bathroom, and my office. I also baked some delicious Bananas Foster muffins, which are Travis’ favorite. (They’re a labor of love with lots of ingredients and lots of different steps, and I realized that I hadn’t made them since Travis and I were dating back in high school. It was overdue. They have a rum glaze that goes over the top to make them delectable!) Finally, I did the dishes, called my grandma, got in a good workout on the treadmill, and read. 🙂

Thursday, I can’t say that I was that productive. 🙂 I did some cleaning, worked out, and then I let myself be lazy! It’s all about balance, right? 😉

four. So, this is a random one, but I thought it was the sweetest thing ever so I have to share. On Wednesday night, I decided to take a warm bath to relax and was going to use one of these nice bath bombs I had gotten as a gift. I had an episode of Grace and Frankie queued up on my tablet, a drink beside me, and my bath bomb ready to be dropped in… I was feelin’ fancy and ready for ultimate relaxation. 😉

I filled our tub up with hot water, got in, and….it was lukewarm, almost cold. Our upstairs guest bathroom runs out of hot water fast, and I’m not sure why. Usually I can get enough to have a warm bath, but that day, it ran out quicker than usual. 

Ain’t nobody okay with a cold bath.

I yelled down to Travis, “Dang, the bath is cold” just kind of looking for some pity- ha! In about five minutes, Travis came back up to the bathroom to check on me and brought in pans of hot water he had boiled on the stove. Unprompted. He made several trips back and forth to bring them in and add them to the cold bath water for me so it was bearable and warm. The sweetest! I felt like I had my own butler to take care of me, and I didn’t even have to leave the tub throughout the whole ordeal. 😉 Everyone needs a man who is willing to boil them water so they don’t have to suffer through a cold bath- ha!

five. If you missed the first round of Lobster Loves this week, you can read it here. Basically, I try to rationalize all of my online shopping/browsing by finding new and desirable products to talk about. (Someone has to do it, right? 😉 ).

 Question of the Day: What is a sweet thing someone has done for you lately? (It doesn’t have to be from your spouse!)

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Lobster Loves

Good morning!

Welcome to a new series of blog posts called “Lobster Loves.” 🙂 (I know what you’re thinking…another alliteration? Come on girl; get some new tricks. Stay with me though… 😉 ).

It’s no secret that I am a shopping lover. It’s basically in my genes. 😉 I remember growing up having special time with my mom going shopping in St. Joe or Kansas City, and they were the best girl’s days. Finding a good deal is like a high!

As I’ve grown up and now live a couple hours from my mom, I find myself online shopping (well…mostly browsing) quite frequently instead of always going to stores. Since one of my favorite stores ever, TJ Maxx, got their own website too I fall down the rabbit hole of online shopping way too easily now.

I’m still a little gun shy about buying too much of the stuff on my wish list (which my husband thanks me for 🙂 ), but I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that I’m loving from my countless hours wasted on my computer time spent looking online. 😉

If you don’t want the temptation of buying what I’m about to show you, look away now. Close your computer and just walk away!

I’m planning to have about two to three Lobster Loves posts per month, but we’ll see how it goes. I love me some clothes and good home decor items so these posts are sure to be my new favorites to write (I mean I basically have to online shop to find things to post about, right?!).

On Lobster Loves posts, you will find clothing, home accessories, beauty products, and more (to be determined 🙂 ). Not all products are ones that I own. Many will just be products that I’ve heard good things about or ones that are on my wish list.

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  • Dedication Leggings from Mindy Mae’s Market- $36.99
    • My name is Laura, and I have a problem (read: obsession) with patterned leggings. I’ve spent months oohing and ahhing over these leggings, and I finally bit the bullet on purchasing after having a long week at school (the “treat myself” mentality won out- ha!). They do not disappoint and are good, thick quality and nice enough to pair with a tee or dress to wear out (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. 😉 )
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  • Hotty Hot Short II Long 4″ from Lululemon- $58
    • These shorts are on my birthday list this year. I love the quality of Lululemon products and let’s be honest, shorts like these are my daily outfit from the end of May until mid-August. I like the longer length on these, and the fact that they will go with everything too!
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  • Safavieh Hudson Shag Collection Gray and Ivory Moroccan Diamond Trellis Area Rug from Amazon- $191.10
    • I snagged this rug from Target right after Christmas on a major sale, but it looks like it’s sold out there now. It’s also available on Amazon, just a little more expensive there. I got it for my office (aka one of our guest rooms upstairs) and since I paid just around $100 for mine, I was pleasantly surprised by how great the quality really is for such a cheap rug. It is extremely soft and has long pile, making it feel so plush. (I’ve been known to just hang out and sit on the floor in my office because of how soft this rug is!).
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  • Makeup Eraser Cloth from Amazon- $20.00
    • I’m still loving the convenience of this makeup cloth instead of having to rely on costly makeup wipes. While it may be a little expensive at first for what it is, I love that it’s reusable and I no longer have to scrub my eyes to death to get my eye makeup off. Even tough mascara comes right off with this and a little warm water! (Thanks, Lanaya for the recommendation on this one!)

 

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  • Tuxedo Teeth Whitening Activated Charcoal Powder from Amazon- $24.97
    • This is a product that I haven’t purchased yet, but it’s on my list to do so. I’ve been looking for a product to whiten my teeth a bit, and after reading countless reviews, this one seems like it works great and is the best value. You just put a little of the charcoal powder on a toothbrush and brush your teeth as normal to whiten. I’ve never tried Crest’s Whitening Stripes or anything like them, but this looks to be cheaper and quicker to use.
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  • eBags Medium Packing Cubes 3 pc. set from Amazon- $29.99 (prices vary by color)
    • This is another item on my “buy sometime” list. I always struggle getting my clothes to fit in my suitcase when I travel, and these look like a good solution! I can also see these being so handy if you packed by day and just had to grab a cube to have your outfit for that day ready.

 

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Well, that’s it for the first round of Lobster Loves. Hopefully you saw something that intrigued you! I’ll be sure to keep doing my civic duty of online shopping so I have even more to share with you the next go-around. 😉 (I’m so generous, I know- ha!)

Enjoy the rest of your week! We’re halfway there!!

Question of the Day: Which item on today’s Lobster Loves would you like to buy?

 

Weekend

Weekend Recap

Hi there! Today is a PLC Day at school, meaning we don’t have kids there, and I’m looking forward to a little time to plan some lessons and get caught up on grading!

Our weekend was another quiet and uneventful one that went way too fast!

On Friday, we did the normal routine: get home, make a pizza, and watch tv. We’re pretty predictable (and boring) on Friday nights.

Saturday morning, I had some errands to run and was supposed to meet a guy in town to make a Facebook sale. After we sat there a few minutes, waiting on him to show up, we realized he wasn’t coming, so we headed to the library, got groceries, and came back home. A few hours later he texted and said he had an “urgent meeting” come up and couldn’t make it that morning (duh- we figured that out, dude!) and wanted me to come back into town to make the sale (no thanks!). I like making the money selling my junk stuff to people, but there are some strange people I’ve encountered while doing so. 😉

I honestly don’t know what I spent my time doing Saturday afternoon. I read some, did some work on my computer, and did some cooking/cleaning, but I feel like it was noon and then all of a sudden, I saw that the clock said 6 p.m. I hate when the weekend days go by that quickly!

Travis finished making me a sign for the front door, based on a design I saw on Pinterest. I love it, and the white ties in great with our glass door trim and windows! (Don’t you love my robe and pajamas in the reflection! 😉 ).

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We ate dinner and then headed over to Zach and Emily’s house to hang out. Zach and Coleman had gone and bought a ping-pong table for the house, and the guys spent a while putting it together while Emily and I talked.

I had the perfect set-up with two dogs to snuggle (Zach and Emily’s dog, Boone, and Coleman’s dog, Nellie). I was more than okay with this situation. 😉

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When the table was finally together, the guys decided to play “War Pong” where whoever loses a point during the game has to lift their shirt and the other player hits a ping pong ball at their back. I have no clue why they thought that would be fun, but each of the guys ended up with several welts on their back! Ouch!

Emily made us her family’s famous “Duck Fart” shots (Crown, Bailey’s, and Kahlua), and we’re already planning several float trips for this summer! (Come on summer; get here fast!).

We ended up staying pretty late talking with the whole crew, but it’s not so bad driving home when it only takes about two minutes! 🙂

Sunday morning, we went to church, and then came home to read and have a quiet rest of the morning.

We were going to walk in the afternoon, but the wind was out of controll so we just laid low!

Have a great week!

Question of the Day: What was a highlight of your weekend?

Friday

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! I’ve been glad for some warmer weather this week. It might not be hot, but I’m ready for outside walks again!

Per usual, here are five tidbits from the week.

one. So, it turns out that I do have a KSU aide after all! She walked into my class right before school on Monday and said that she was here to observe/work with me (Thanks for the heads up, K-State!).

I felt so bad because the kids were just typing a rough draft of their research paper the whole hour so it was a pretty boring day for her. I had her do some grading, but I felt very unprepared and didn’t have much else for her to do. I made sure that she had more she could help with on Wednesday, and that day went better, hopefully not boring her to death too much. She helped with some fun Valentine’s Day writing activities and worked with the kids.

She is only in my classroom for two hours in the morning, two days a week, so I’ve been making lists of things she can help with during 1st and 2nd hour to make her experience better (and more worthwhile!). When I was an aide sophomore year of college, I just sat in the back observing and occasionally helped grade papers. It wasn’t the best experience so I’m trying to give her the chance to do as much as she wants to get a more realistic feel for teaching!

two. In middle school, we don’t have Valentine’s Day parties, but I still wanted to tie in some Valentine’s related activities in with writing on Wednesday. One of the activities was making Valentine’s Rebus Puzzles, where you use pictures and symbols to replace words. The red heart in the middle is my example, and the other ones around it are from my students! They had a lot of fun making their silly love messages!

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three. It seems like I’ve got a Valentine’s Day theme going here so let’s keep it rolling. We kept our V-Day plans simple this year and just cooked a nice meal at home. We had shrimp, quinoa, asparagus, salad, and a butterscotch cookie torte. (One of our favorite shrimp recipes is Skinnytaste’s Bangin’ Good Shrimp. It’s from her first cookbook, but you can also find it here. I’ve never had the recipe it is based off of, from Bonefish Grill, but with how good this light recipe is, I can only imagine the real thing is divine!)

four. This is so me, especially after the last couple of weeks. I’ve been flying through the books!

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five. I saw this quote online this week, and it really resonated with me.

All too often I don’t try something because I’m scared of it not being perfect or the conditions aren’t just so, but this is a good reminder to just face those fears, start working on those goals, just start!

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Question of the Day: What did you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Teaching

Research Paper Resources

Good morning!

In my Five on Friday post last week, I promised to share some of my resources for writing a research paper with you. I know that many of you might not have one inkling of a desire to be reading about this, but I know that at least a few followers are fellow teachers…so here we go!

Every year, I struggle with teaching writing to my students. It’s something that my college courses kind of skimmed over (like they didn’t know what to do about it either), and writing is such a subjective art. How I organize facts in a paper may be completely different from how another person thinks to organize facts. And that doesn’t mean either of us are wrong. See how it gets tricky?!

When I began teaching, I really had no clue what form/style of writing to use so I went with a version of “Step Up to Writing” that my mentor teacher from student teaching used. It worked alright, but it was so formulaic, and honestly, it made the kids writing so bland and boring, even if it was more organized. Writing is an art too, which is what makes it so difficult to teach.

My second year of teaching, our Language Arts department adopted “RACE” writing as our method to teach. It is kind of a modified version of “Step Up to Writing” and better fit for the middle school level.

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While I’m still doing RACE writing in my classroom, having students write a full research paper using RACE wasn’t the most practical or logical route to take. (AKA: Last year’s research papers were borderline disasters before I tweaked some things).

Insert: hamburger paragraphs.

(All the praise hands. These things are genius!)

My coteacher, Bri, who also teaches a couple sections of 6th grade ELA, mentioned using hamburger paragraphs for the body of our paper this year.

I have to say. I’m never going back now. Give me alllll the burgers. It works!

The basis of a hamburger body paragraph is that there are certain aspects you have to have in a body paragraph, just like how you want certain things on a hamburger.

The buns on the burger are like the topic sentence and closing sentence. You need those and it’s weird to eat a burger without buns (though I sometimes do, but it feels incomplete 😉 ).

The body or the burger is the most important so I tell students that that’s where your facts go. How you explain the facts are like the toppings or the extras/sauce. Just like we all like different toppings on our burgers, our paragraphs are going to be different based on what we put into them. They reflect who we are as a writer. Also, some people eat a huge sandwich and other eat little sandwiches. My students had certain main ideas with many facts (big burgers) and others with not as many (small burgers), and that’s okay.

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You start with a general topic sentence to introduce each main idea. Then, I had students take the outline of their facts (that they had previously made) and elaborate (fluff up!) those facts on the hamburger sheet. Their goal was to take the words/phrases from their outline and put them into sentence form on the hamburger sheet. They needed to explain the facts further as well. Then, at the bottom of the sheet, they had a closing sentence that restates the main ideas of the entire paragraph.

It worked really well and made sense to the students, so I’m calling it a success!

Below, I’m attaching the sheets that we have used thus far for our research paper. For the introduction and conclusion paragraphs of our papers, I give students a kind of “template” to follow so that they make sure those paragraphs are full and well-rounded. The template allows students to put in their own flair and details while still staying organized.

I also have the hamburger body paragraph sheet that I made. This is definitely a resource that I will come back to when we do more writing in my class! Finally, I’ve attached the peer editing sheet that we use together as well. Enjoy!

Hamburger Paragraph

Building an Introductory Paragraph

Building an Conclusion Paragraph

Peer Editing

Question of the Day: When I say “research paper,” what reaction do you have? Are you a lover or a hater of writing papers?

Weekend

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

I’m shocked it’s only the 12th day of February. This month seems to drag on and on to me.

Our friends didn’t end up coming to Manhattan this weekend after all and are planning to come up in a month or so now. So…we switched gears for our weekend plans and it ended up being a fun one!

On Friday night, Travis and I were both beat. I’m talking so tired that we both considered going straight to bed right away. We rallied (barely) and watched a movie with our pizza. A few weeks ago, I had seen a trailer for a new, promising Netflix movie called “When We First Met” and it came out on Friday actually. It stars Adam Devine, who is always so ridiculous and hilarious. It’s about a guy named Noah who royally screwed things up with his dream girl Avery and was friend zoned early on in their relationship. He finds a time machine and gets the chance to recreate that night they first met (hence the title) over and over again to try to get things right. The movie was a little slow at times, but I really enjoyed it! It was a perfect mix of funny and cute!

After our movie was over, we decided that we might as well go to bed since neither one of us had slept well all week. I had to laugh when I crawled in bed and saw it was 9:15 p.m. We don’t even get in bed that early during the week!

I do have to say, though, that waking up after getting almost nine hours of sleep felt like a kind of glorious that I can’t even describe. Sleep is a beautiful thing. 🙂

Saturday morning can we described in two words: book coma. I started a new book the night before, and woke up dying to read more (Yes, I’m fully aware that I should be adding book nerd to my resume). The book in question is called ““If You Only Knew” by Kristan Higgins, and wow was it good. I’ll do a full recap on it later this month in my February Books post. The plot was nothing earth-shattering, but the characters were so likeable and relatable that it was hard to put down (and so, I didn’t until after lunch when I finally finished it 😉 ).

After spending half of my day reading (only stopping for drinks, bathroom breaks, and to make lunch), we made some evening plans with friends and decided we better clean up our house before they came over (our whole Friday night lazy fest meant that we didn’t lift a finger in the kitchen, and it was a total disaster).

We ran to get groceries in the afternoon, and as we were in the Dillon’s parking lot getting gas, a guy drove by our car real slow, looking at it and petting his weiner (dog, that is), and called out to Travis, “That’s a nice looking car.” I was staying warm inside while Travis pumped the gas so I thought Trav was getting hit on- ha! Apparently the guy is just thinking about getting an Equinox and wanted to know how we like ours. (I like my story version better though about Travis getting picked up.) 😉

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That night, we met up with some friends at Coco Bolos. Emily and I were risky getting mojitos in the middle of winter, and our worst fears were confirmed when they came out with only about three sad looking mint leaves in them. 😉 Still good, but not the same!

We hung out at the restaurant awhile, talking and watching the K-State game. Then, we decided to have a game night back at our house. We stopped for drinks and drove over.

At our house, neither Travis or I use a house key. We just rely on the keypad on our garage door. Well, we were just telling our friends about how one time, we got dinner with my parents, and came back to our house to find that the keypad wasn’t working, and there was no way to get into our house. It was cold out, and so finally after about five minutes of trying it warmed up and worked again.

And…what do you know. The same thing happened for the second time on Saturday night. We had the seven of us standing outside freezing while the darn thing kept blinking at us, not working. The guys decided to pop open their beers, and the girls crawled back into the car to stay warm. Finally, after what felt like ten minutes, it worked again, thank goodness. Getting some house keys made is top of the list for us this week. 😉

We were going to play Pitch, but some of us wanted to play something that didn’t require much thinking, so Presidents and Assholes it was. After a few rounds of that, we switched to Spoons, which I haven’t played since middle school probably. It surprisingly gets your heart pumping, and there was more than one time that I thought our table and/or glass door were going to get broken when people dove for a spoon. 🙂

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At about 12:30, we decided that our game could take forever, so we moved to single-elimination to finish it off and said goodnight to everyone.

On Sunday, we slept in and had another lazy morning. We had cleaned and done laundry/groceries the day before so it was nice to have a day to just chill.

Have a wonderful day!

Question of the Day: What card games do you enjoy playing with friends?

 

Friday

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! What a cold week it was here! We got snow off and on early in the week but never enough to justify having a snow day (cue the tears 😦 ).

After boasting last week that I had a post for every work day of the week, I kind of fell off the bandwagon this week. Whoops. With the cold weather and long days at school, my brain needed a computer break by the time I got home each night.

one. This week was an emotional roller coaster in my classroom as well. We started writing our research paper in my classes over the Japanese American Internment Camps. I always dread teaching writing because it’s such a subjective art. My college classes never covered the perfect way to teach writing, and I’ve changed how I’ve taught it every year. This year was the most successful so far though (thank goodness).

My coworker Erin and I were talking that with this group of kids the activities/lessons that we dread doing are the ones the kids somehow do well on and without complaint. However, the lessons that we are so excited for, the kids somehow screw it up. Our team has decided that this group of kids ruin fun stuff. 😉

I’m putting together a post for next week with the resources I’ve used to help students write their research paper. Stay tuned for it; it involves hamburgers, which always helps the kids buy into it more. 🙂

two. I made this recipe for Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake from Eating Bird Food on Monday, and it was so delicious! I had enough leftovers to have it three days for lunch this week, so I was a happy girl. 🙂 It was full of spice (but can easily be tamed down). I try to do at least one meatless meal per week, and this one is a keeper!

I’ve almost gone through both of my Skinnytaste cookbooks so I’ve been venturing out and trying some of the meals I’ve pinned on Pinterest as well. Travis thinks the world is ending when he comes home and I’m not cooking a Skinnytaste meal. 🙂

three. One of my interesting, hilarious, strange students from last year popped back into my classroom yesterday after school ended. He came in, looked around, and said, “I miss being back here.” We talked for a little bit, and before he left, I kid you not, this is what he said (I even wrote it down because it cracked me up, “Well.. It was nice coming back and refreshing my memory. Bye, Mrs. Snyder.” 🙂

He said it like my classroom isn’t just down the hall from his 7th grade classroom this year- ha!

four. Our friends Gabe and Chloe are coming Saturday to hang out and stay with us. While we usually have friends staying at our house frequently during football season, it drops off a lot around winter time so I’m excited to host again and see them.

five. It’s been a long week and this couldn’t be more relevant. 🙂

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Question of the Day: What was the yummiest meal you made this week?