Sunday, August 31, 2014

Back to school

On Wednesday, we have our Meet the Teacher Day at school.  This is when the students and the parents come in to meet the teachers and see the classroom. (I will say it's often telling to see the students with their parents before the first day of school, if you know what I mean =)) It's always nice to have something on their desks for the students to take home.  Last year, I gave them baggies full of Lucky Charms and a label of "I'm lucky to have you in my class!"  I wanted to change it up this year and do something different.  I have used glow bracelets in the past for holidays but didn't think to use them for the beginning of the year!  I found this idea on Pinterest from Jodi at Fun in First and I love it!  I went to Michael's today, got two containers of the glow bracelets (12 in each container) for a $1 each, printed out the labels from Fun in First and put them together. I hope the students like them! What types of things do you do for the beginning of the year?

Until next time!

Blog makeover!

I'm currently undergoing a blog makeover...stay tuned to see the results!

Plus, I'll share how the first few days of school went =)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Getting ready

Here in New Jersey, we don't begin school until after Labor Day.  I know some schools have already started, but we don't have our first official day (for teachers) until next Tuesday, the 2nd.  The students begin on the 4th and have just Thursday and Friday that week.  Sometimes I'm not sure how I like such a short week for them to come back, because I feel like all the routines and things that were taught those two days get lost over the weekend.  However, it is nice to have two days with them and then have a weekend to recover from trying to get back in the swing of things!  I'm crossing my fingers that my class this year is a bit easier than my class last year.  Last year was FULL of learning lessons and I'm hoping to take a lot of what I learned into this year and all the years to come.  I will talk about some of those lessons in another post =)  

Below are just some ideas of what I've been working on for my room. Yes, I do have a personal laminator that I use at home. I wasn't all that keen on buying it at first but I am SO, SO glad that I did.  I don't use it all that much during the school year but I use it a lot during the summer time.  It comes in handy to have things laminated right away and I do like the fact that the lamination is thicker than what we have at school. Tonight I was laminating a WELCOME sign (hence the large E that you see!) and labels for my math bins.  I changed where I house all my math manipulatives and thought I'd get new labels for them, too.  In the past, I just had the label on the shelf where they were supposed to go back, but this year I decided to label the bin AND the shelf.  We'll see if it works any better. I will take some pictures tomorrow of my classroom and share them on here.  Maybe you can get some ideas =) 

Also, I can't finish out a post without adding in my new "business."  
If you are interested in trying the mascara (I know you want to!), visit my website:

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Have you heard?

Have you heard of this new mascara that is being made by the company Younique?  If you haven't, you must check out my website and learn more!  I just decided to become a presenter for the company and I am so excited!  The 3D fiber lash mascara is AMAZING and there are noticeable differences between regular mascara and this fiber lash mascara.  I thought I'd share some pictures over the next few days so you can see what I'm talking about:
Come check out my website: Michelle's Younique website and learn more!!

Until next time,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

GF dessert

I thought I would share a quick dessert that I made tonight. It was really good and made from scratch!! Here is a picture of it before it baked:
I completely forgot to take a picture of it when it was done but it went very quickly!! Everyone really enjoyed it!! I used GF all purpose flour in place of regular flour. Everything else (including the vanilla) is GF. If you would like the recipe, here you go:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Picture directions

Something that I have found to be extremely helpful when working with any students (general ed. or special ed.) is to use picture directions to remind them what to do next.  How many times have you had students come up to you and ask, "Ok, now I wrote down my name and colored.  What do I do next?"  This problem can be easily be solved by using picture directions!  I had made my own when I first began teaching (they are in one of my file cabinets at school and I have yet to step back in my room yet...we don't go back until September but I know I need to get a move on it!) but I found these when reading A Cupcake for the Teacher's blog.  They are super cute and so much better than the ones I made almost 9 years ago!  If you'd like your own, you can find them here

This past year I had students who really struggled to read and who also had trouble following more than one direction at a time.  If they came over while I was working with another student, I would just remind them to look at the easel to see what to do next.  It helps all students to use these types of directions, not just the struggling ones, especially if there are a few steps to follow before completing the assignment/project.  Hope you find these helpful!

Until next time,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gluten free dinner

I thought I would share a crockpot meal that I made today that was super easy and gluten free! All you would need are chicken breasts (or any cut of chicken would work), brown rice (I made that separate), 1 can of black beans, 1 can of corn and a red pepper. I cut up the chicken and red pepper, drained and rinsed the black beans and then the corn and threw it all in the crockpot. I added some water, salt, pepper and garlic and set it on low for 8 hours. Yum!! You could use chicken stock or veggie stock, too bit just make sure it is gluten free if needed. Once everything was done, I added the rice and that was our meal! Sorry that the picture shows me already diving into my plate but I was hungry!

Let me know if you try this out!

Until next time,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gluten free snack idea...

One of my go-to snacks during the day and sometimes at night as "dessert" for me, I choose to eat a granola bar.  I often throw one in my school lunch bag to eat either during lunch or later on in the day. I LOVE Van's GF Peanut Butter Chocolate bars, but I will say they aren't cheap!  You only get 5 bars in the box (does this odd number bother anyone else, too?!) and I usually find them at Shop Rite or Target for about $3.99.  If they are on sale, I have found them for $3.50 so not much of a savings. They also make them in other flavors and I like the Chocolate Chip ones, too.  

While on Pinterest the other day, I decided to look up recipes for some GF granola bars that I could make myself.  I haven't really been one to make a lot of things from scratch but lately, I find myself wanting to do this a.) to save a little money, and b.) to know what is in what I'm eating.  Do you ever look at the ingredients on the boxes of what you like and wonder what some of them are?!  I don't have a choice but to read labels if something isn't labeled gluten free, and I often put items back just because I have no idea what some of the ingredients are.  Anyway, I thought I'd share the recipe for homemade granola bars that I found and then made tonight!  Here's the picture of them before I put them in the freezer to "settle".  
Of course, I had to try them once they had been in the freezer for over an hour and OMG, they are DELICIOUS!  I did tweak the recipe a little bit (I used honey like suggested instead of the corn syrup) and I added sunflower seeds as well just to give it a little more crunch and something else that was healthy.  While I was mixing the chocolate chips in with everything, they did begin to melt.  I don't notice a big deal with that as you still get the chocolate flavor in the bars but maybe just not as much if they didn't melt within the batch.  I'd highly recommend this recipe if you were looking to make granola bars from scratch!!  Super easy to make!  Let me know if you try these out and let me know what you think!

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gluten free cooking, too!

Today, I was thinking about where I wanted this blog to go and whether I wanted it to be mostly about teaching or whether I wanted to branch out and add other things, too.  

While I was making dinner tonight, I thought I'd share with you that I have to eat gluten free.  I know that it's the "fad" right now to eat that way but I, unfortunately, don't have a choice. If I did eat gluten, my stomach would not like me for quite awhile and it's just not worth it to me. While I haven't gone through extensive testing to see if I have full blown Celiac's Disease, I do know that I have a sensitivity to gluten so therefore, it is off limits.  Trust me, though, there are times I wish I could just eat anything that was around.  The hardest times are when we are at a party or some sort of gathering with friends.  More often than not, the only thing that I can eat while there is salad (as long as the dressing is gluten free) and fruit.  It can be frustrating but I know that not many people have to eat this way (at least among my friends) and gluten seems to be in EVERYTHING that is common!!  I remember when I first found out, I went food shopping and looked at the labels of everything I was so used to buying.  Gluten was in every.single.thing that I checked that day.  I was so upset because I realized what a difficult transition this was going to be for me. Since I have gone GF over 4 years ago, I have noticed a HUGE difference in the way I feel after I eat.  Before I made the change, I'd eat a meal and feel so stuffed and uncomfortable, but I had nothing to compare it to so I thought it was normal!  Once I made the change, I would think to myself, "Wow!  Is this how I'm supposed to feel?!"  What a difference!!

Well, feel free to ask questions and I'll be sharing recipes and meals that I make along the way =)

Until next time!