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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's Cooking Wednesday-Red Velvet Brownies

As many of you know, I LOVE to bake.  It's an outlet.  Sometimes I like to bake with Madi and Connor, and sometimes I just want the kitchen to myself (then they can come in to wash dishes and clean up--if they want a snack HAHA) ;)  

This past weekend I shared this picture on facebook. 
Yes, I'm totally a little girl and that is MY Mickey Mouse mug! 
 Everyone needs a sweet treat now and again...and I'm finding that I'm baking quite frequently.  
I MUST get that bakery someday (yes, I know I mention it a lot anymore, and as much as I love teaching, this is something that my Mom would have loved to see me do! :) )
, but for now, I will share some recipes with you.....so that brings me to.....

Today's Recipe
Red Velvet Brownies with White  Chocolate Chips

I originally found the recipe HERE, and after reading through the recipe, it sounded good---but do you ever wonder how you can tweak recipes just a bit for your liking?  Well, that's what I did/do. I didn't tweak it much, because I'm sure it's AWESOME the way that it is, but I did make a few adjustments.  

 I'm so bad because I usually just add a bit of this and a pinch of that.  I have a hard time with following directions I guess.  (I told my hubby that if I ever do get a bakery, I should advertise with it never being the same way twice----BUT, with my bakery name being  Double Dee's, that probably would gather an interesting crowd.  *For the record, Double Dee's for my initials in case anyone is wondering.  Apparently I'm more naive than I thought when I came up with this name.  ANYWAY!!) 

As I said, I'm not good at following directions.  So if it asks for me to do things in separate bowls, I don't always do it----WAY too many dishes to wash that way!  I combined my butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla in my stand mixer.  

I added 2 oz. of Red food coloring AND a tablespoon of milk.

 Then I thought, How can I make this more fattening? 
So I added a few white chocolate chips.  Okay, so maybe it wasn't a few---
maybe it was the whole bag.
But look how pretty they are sitting in there!!
And there you have it, some YUMMY brownies!! 
My son says these should be called RED-IES!  Perhaps he's right.  

Here is the recipe on my small "tweaks" of the original.
 You can click the image below to grab and print.
Happy Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Today's Tuesday Tip: ORGANIZE!

 You see this big black binder?  It's old, not cutesy-and as a matter of fact, it's the same binder that held my lesson plans when I did my student teaching umpteen years ago-but it works!  (I guess I'm cheap---thrifty sounds like a nicer word!---ANYWAY, where was I?)   This black binder holds ongoing records for each of my students in my classroom.  It makes it easy to pull information for SSMTs, RTI data, you name it.  

Here's what I did.
I used my big black binder, and put several (enough for each student in my classroom and a few extra for other important information) page protectors in it.  I designated one page protector per student, and put them in alphabetical/numerical order.  **If you put your students in alphabetical order, and assign them a corresponding number at the beginning of the year, it makes filing much easier.  They can just write their number on each page. **  The pages hold a variety of information.  See below (I apologize for the images--I am bad about using my phone)
My school is big on Star/Early Literacy Data for our information, so I keep my students log-in information handy in the front, and a copy of the reports from the benchmarking periods. 
 At the beginning of the year I recorded their running record level.  Nothing fancy, I just quickly wrote it down for my personal record and stuck inside the binder. 

I also made up an assessment/quick check for the beginning of the year.  This was based off of Ohio's content standards from several years back.  I tested on letter sounds, letter names (bother upper and lower), Kindergarten sight words, color words, rhyming words, and number recognition.  (This was before I knew of AimsWeb and other easier data recording sheets to access.  Thanks to my wonderful coworker for taking my handwritten copy and typing it for me!)  **If you are wondering how we used it, we didn't record it in order, we went down on our chart, instead of left to right.**
Why did I use this?  Our benchmarking period is late fall, and  I've already had my students for a month before we utilize the data the school wants us using.  I wanted a way to see what my students know coming into me from the first week. This also shows progress of students that have been struggling all year.  It marks their progress from week one. 

 I also put our beginning of the year math pretest, collect a variety of writing samples, and I put running records inside the sleeve as well.  If I get "THOSE" parent notes, or if I've referred a student to the office, I put those in there too.  It's a way to keep all my information on each child at my fingertips. 
 Then, when I want to see the progress of each student, I can pull out a page and compare.  This is one of my strugglers.  The picture on the left is from the second week of school, and the picture on the left was just last week.  He has added more details.  There's some progress showing.  I can pull it out and show it at conferences, or as I said, it is easy to access when going through your referral process if needed.
I even keep sight word check lists in it.  (This was pre -Super Reader) ;)

It's something so simple to do, yet I only started doing it this year.  In years past I used folders, and labeled each folder for each child.  Then I had to go through the filing process of pages, and then find a place to store all of the files, or where to store my crate of files.  This sits just perfectly on my teacher counter, and can be accessed by the intervention teachers that I work with.  I can take it to meetings with me by carrying the whole binder, or just the files that I need.   
 Why didn't I do this years ago? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Just Hodgepodge---and a little freebie worksheet

Today's post---Hodgepodge.  A little of this...and a bit of that. 
  Today we just took it easy.  I had 6 kiddos absent (There must be something yucky going around because I think there were about 70 out of our building).  I hate starting something new with that many out, so we just reviewed, and had a nice relaxing day.  I need that once in a while, and so do the kiddos.  There's still learning going on of course, but just not at a cheetah's pace. 

First of all, last week  we worked on my US pack, and I incorporated a few other great things from TpT.  Here is a picture of our George Washington's from A Cupcake for a Teacher's pack. 
We are also a  Leader in Me School.  Above it on sentence strips it says,
"We are honest.  We are proactive.  We are leaders.  
Just like George Washington, we are leaders."

Today our school nurse came around with a dental hygienist and gave us a talk on proper dental care.  We followed up with some old school activities. 

When making the tooth fairies today, one of  my first grade friends said, "These are almost done for us."  She's so used to tracing and cutting.  They enjoyed this for a change....just coloring and cutting.   :)
We read facts that were written on teeth.  We colored the things bad for our teeth a yucky color, and left ways to keep our teeth healthy white.  They stuck the facts in the pocket of the fairy to take home, sort and share with their families tonight.  

 We followed up our tooth activity with a writing assignment from my February Journal Prompts--using the prompt for healthy snacks for our teeth.

Then for centers today, we used part of The Bubbly Blonde's AWESOME pack. 
Here are some of the pictures I snapped (from a few of the centers we did).
 Compound Words
 Doubles Facts
 Then we were playing Wild about Words, and Whack a CvCe word.  
You can find those freebies by clicking on the blue link above.
 I worked with one of my little friends on the words she's stuck on.  
She rereads her old books to me, and gets a new one for the day.  
It's about time for Super Reader-Sight Word 3.  :)  
I am so glad I have finally found something to make her feel successful!! :)
You can check out Super Reader-1 and Super Reader-2.  

We were also reviewing nouns and verbs today as we were working on Kelley's Morning Work.  Wouldn't  you know?  Just when I think they ALL  FINALLY get it....*hand raises*  "What's a verb again?"  AHHHH!!
SOOO----here's a little sorting freebie for you, and my little sweetie too! ;)

 Click the picture above to download you a copy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Share-and a freebie

I've been in one of those "blah" moods today. I hate when that happens.  I'd rather be all cheery and happy go lucky, but every once in a while---I get stuck in a rut, and have a pity party for myself.  I even brought treats to my party. 

Red velvet brownies--found a recipe online and tweaked it--the recipe sounded blah too
 (I will share in What's Cooking Wednesday)

See, I even called baked goods blah---anything fattening should never be blah!  
I even had a date night with the hubby last night (that happens MAYBE 1-2 times a YEAR!) 
 With two kiddos and them being involved in things---makes it hard to go out sometimes.
I went and gambled *GASP*  First time in my uhm, 30something years! ;)  
It was quite fun, but I left before I did any major damage. 

If you're from Ohio, this is where we went.  It was fun for a night out just the two of us!
But then this morning, the blahs hit me.  I'm not sure if it's a case of Mondayitis, winter blues, or a little of both.  Whatever the case, I need to snap out of it. 

Now to Sunday Share 

I wanted to share with you some of the things that I've made the past week.  

First up, March is right around the corner.  I had to get my March prompts ready.
Here is a sample from the packet.  You can click the picture to grab you a copy.

I also was working on Fairy Tales/Fables the past couple weeks, and I wanted to extend it.  I created a unit to be used during the Three Little Pigs.  It has a nonfiction reader in it as well.  After creating this, I thought I'm holding on to it for emergency sub plans.  It is going to be perfect for that!

Here is a sample from the set above. It's to be used reading any version of the Three Little Pigs AND the True Story of the Three Little Pigs.  
 Again, you can click the picture below to grab you a copy.

Then, after I made and posted these things over the past week, I thought it was time I made a freebie as well.  I thought MAYBE, just MAYBE that would get me out of my case of blahs.  
I'm so thankful for all the support you have given me on FB, blog, TpT.  I'm blessed to have even gotten to know some of you through emails too!!  You are all wonderful!! 

Here is a new game we will be using in my classroom.
Click the image to head over to TpT to grab you a *FREEBIE*
While you're there, feel free to shop around 
(Shameless plug, I know---but hey, I NEED that bakery!!!) 
If you don't shop, the freebie is still there for the taking, of course ;)
Please be kind and leave feedback. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hall Pass Linky

Happy Friday everyone!!  Reagan has a fun linky party going on, and I thought I'd join in.  You can click the picture below to head to Reagan's Hall Pass Linky Party.

Basically, I'm to show you a product that I'm loving, my favorite area of my classroom, a signal for transitions, and how I keep my sanity?  (Uhm..I think I lost my sanity a long time ago---but I'll figure out something to write!) ;)

If you remember, I have told you this year has been a challenge. I have several low firsties (PK level when they came to me, so first grade work is definitely a challenge) so my favorite product right now has to be my Super Reader sets.  I made them for my kiddos that were struggling mastering their sight words.  It has been a true motivator for them to earn a new sight word booklet (plus stickers at that!)  I love how focused they are on it too.  They've now decided that they wanted me to test them on their words daily, so right before we do reading groups, I test them.  I'm so proud of the gains they are making! 

Set One
Set Two
And one of my sweeties working hard for me.

My favorite area is the reading hut.  Last year's class really enjoyed it, and this year I have a few who get their centers done so they can quickly go read inside of it! :)
You can tell it's been loved because the felt pieces are falling off...I need to fix that!

Oh my, I do everything from saying if you hear me clap once, to saying hey, if you transition to this next lesson quickly, I'll give you chocolate (if I haven't eaten it!)  Most of the time, my go to is simply saying "Beat my clock!"  I tell them what is needed out of their desks, where I want them to be, or what I need them doing.  Then I start the count down. It's usually me counting down from 10 slowly.  They LOVE beating my clock, and I do have a few that are poky little puppies, so when I get to 3, I count slower, or add in 1/2s.    Usually most are  ready and counting with me by the time I get to 5

Well now, I did label my Teacher Toolbox with a Chocolate drawer.
It's a great place to stash away a few treats---and my coworkers will even find themselves in my room asking for chocolate.  That's how I keep my sanity at school....that and PRAYER!  I do find myself saying a quick little prayer to the Good Lord above to help me stay calm. 
(I'm telling you...this year has been a challenge, so thankful for God keeping me in check!)

Then, when I come home, it it's been a REALLY stressful day, you can find me in the kitchen baking away. I find myself baking more often than my hips and thighs would like.  
I must find some other taste testers! :)

There you have it friends.....want to see who else linked up?  
Check it out! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Tip--Using Facebook

Today's tip is for those wanting to create their own FB fan page for their blog, and how to schedule a FB post for their fan page.    I did this again using Screenr.  Last time I used Screenr, I had a problem with my cat bothering me while videoing, and this time for some reason, it cut me off before my allotted 5 minutes.  Apparently Screenr thinks I talk too much?  I will eventually get it right if I continue using it. :)

I do think that that, for the most part, you can see how to set up your page and how to schedule posts.  Check out the video below.

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