Saturday, December 31, 2011

How I Spent My Winter Vacation - Linky Party!!!

Clutter-Free Classroom is having a Linky I'm linking up!!!  I have been having a great time reading all of the posts made by all of the other teachers that have linked up.  Man, some of yall NEVER stop!!!  Apparently, most of you have a totally different 2 week Christmas break than we do.  We just finished our first week, so I still have over a week to go!  Our kiddos actually do not go back to school until Jan. 9th!!!  Yep...I'm smiling over here about that!!!  The teachers go back on the 6th, but it is a meeting kind of a day...and some time in our classroom! :) 

So, what have I done on my first week off for Christmas break...NOTHING FUN!!!!  I have been in the emergency room twice, the 24th and the 26th, and had a small "surgical" procedure on the 27th!  Since then I have done nothing but lay around because I have had NO ENERGY...due to the fact that I am now anemic!  I came very close to having to have a blood transfusion on the 27th, so now my body needs to recoup!!!  Sitting around doing nothing is great for blog hopping and spending lots of time on Pinterest searching for great ideas!!!

Ok, so my first week of break was REALLY I am hoping to get things accomplished this coming week.  My plans are to...WORK ON MY NURSERY FOR MY NEW GRAND BABY!!!  Yeah!!!!  It's something I've been "planning on" since this summer...and I still have not gotten around to doing it. I sit here writing this blog, my awesome hubby and our new "son" (a totally different story), are beginning to get things going for me by moving furniture so we can begin the process!!!  In order to set up my nursery, I have to rearrange 3 different rooms in my house!!!  NOTHING I do is uncomplicated!!!  I guess I should take some pics and post them so that I can actually prove that I am getting things accomplished!!!  This will be a week of             decluttering, rearranging, and then heading back to the classroom to get ready for the second half of the school year!

Better than pics of my rooms is a pic of my adorable granddaughter...Raylie Anne!!!  I wub her soooo much!!!  She will be 3 months old on Jan. 3rd!  I think I could start a blog just about her!!! 

If you haven't already linked up to this cute linky party, head on over there to let us know what you have been doing on your time off!!!

I also want to give a shout out to a NEW BLOG..."The Best Endings: A Blog all about Books".  Erica, from "The Honey Bunch", along with a lot of other great contributors...have started this awesome blog about books...and they make me feel horrible!!!  Why???  I NEVER READ!!!!  Well...books that is!!!  I use to read all the time when I  was a young girl, a teenager, and even as an adult...until about 10 years ago.  Now, I don't know when I could ever find the time to actually sit down and read a book.  My ADHD brain just has not been lending itself to that type of activity!!!  I guess I really need to try to start doing that again!  Yall go check out the new will really enjoy it!!!


Friday, December 30, 2011

YEAH!!!! I LOVE THE WAY MY NEW RECIPE CARDS LOOK!!!! I did a trial post with one of my recipes that I included for the linky parties, and I really like the way it showed up on my blog...all interactive with music and everything.  I said that I didn't think that you would be able to print the recipe card, but I'm not so sure about may be able to!  When you open the recipe card, there are buttons for you to be able to save it or print it.  I am on my laptop, so I haven't tried to print it out.  If somebody happens upon my little blog and opens up one of my little recipe cards and actually prints one out, please let me know if it worked!  :p  I will now post my other two recipes on cute, little, interactive recipe cards!!!  This is fun!!!

Trail Post for Recipes!!!

I just noticed how my recipes ended up looking when I posted them to my blog.  I tried to use the cute little recipe card that somebody made on GoggleDocs...but I am Goggledocs illeterate and could not figure out how to get my recipe on the card.  I found a cute little site...that I'm sure many of you already know I put my recipe on a little recipe card so it would be easier to make out.  Unfortunately you won't be able to print out the cute little card b/c I am using the free version of smilebox!  I don't think too many people look at my blog anyway, so this is probably just a little experiment for me!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Omgosh...if yall knew how many times I have tried to make this post, yall would all think I am nuts and that I have NO BUSINESS having a blog!!!  This is why it has taken me so long to get my blog going, but since my New Year's resolution is to become a better blogger, I will continue to attempt this post until I have accomplished it!!!

I have never been a part of a linky party before, so I thought this would be a great way to get my New Year's resolution going!  This first linky party I happened upon was TBA's Holiday Recipe Swap.  My recipe for this linky party is a tried and true recipe from our church recipe book!  I hope all of you enjoy it as much as we do!  I can really hurt myself eating these potatoes because they are sooooo good!!!

                                                         Cheesy Potatoes

1 bag Ore-Ida frozen hash browns,                                  1 1/4 sticks Margarine, melted
shredded                                                                             1/2 Onion, chopped finely
1 (8-oz.) Sour Cream                                                           8 slices American Cheese
1 can Cream of Chicken soup                                           1 cup Corn Flakes, crushed fine

Pour frozen hash browns into large greased baking casserole dish (9x13).  Salt and pepper lightly.  Add chopped onions, mix well.  Pour 1/2 melted margarine over frozen hash browns.  Set aside.  In large saucepan, stir in Cream of Chicken soup over medium heat.  Add cheese, mixing well.  When all cheese is melted, remove from heat.  Add sour cream, blending well.  Pour this mixture over potatoes in dish and mix well until all hash browns are coated with the cheesy mixture.  In a small bowl, mix remaining margarine and corn flakes until well coated.  Sprinkle over top of potatoes.  Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30 minutes.


The next linky party I happened upon was the Cookie Exchange at Klinger Cafe'!  The cookies I am adding to this cookie exchange come from another Souther Gal...Paula Deen!!!  Yall, these cookies are TO DIE FOR!!!  Everytime I make them, everyone gobbles them up!  I can't wait for yall to try them out for yourselves!

                                            Paula's Ultimate Oatmeal Cookies 

1/2 cup (1stick) butter, softened              1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup vegetable shortening                  1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs                                                        1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup buttermilk                                     1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour                     2 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal (not instant!)
1 teaspoon baking soda                           1 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt                                       1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder                       1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brown Butter Icing:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie cheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

2.  Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar at low speed util fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is light in color.  Add the buttermilk and mix to combine.

3.  Sift togethr the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.  At low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients.  Using a spatula, fold in the oatmeal, raisins, walnuts, and vanilla, blending well.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 1 1/2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

4.  While the cookies are baking, make the icing: In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Remove the saucepan from the heat; stir in the sugar and vanilla.  Stir in enough water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make an icing of drizzling consistency.

5.  Remove the cookies to wire racks to cool.  Drizzle with Brown Butter Icing while the cookies are still warm.

Makes about 5 dozen

Go check out the rest of the delicious cookie recipes at the Klinger Cafe' Cookie Exchange!


The last linky party I am linking to is Rowdy in First Grade's Holiday Recipe Linky Party.  This is a recipe that I just got right before Thanksgiving from a girl I teach with.  She made this for our Thanksgiving meal with the teachers at school!  It is DEICIOUS!!!!!!  I made it for Thanksgiving for my family, and they requested it for Christmas!  If you like artichokes, I know you are going to LOVE this!!!

                                                      Artichoke Dressing

3 jars quartered artichokes--drained                               1/2 cup olive oil
2 can French style green beans--drained                       1 large onion finely chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese                                                    4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs

1.  Saute garlic and onion in 1/4 cup oil
2.  Mix in green beans and artichoke hearts until well mixed
3.  Add 1 cup bread crumbs and parmesan cheese
4.  Add remainder of oil (1/4 cup)
5.  Spread into pan
6.  Top with remainder of bread crumbs (1/2 cup) and pats of butter
7.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes of until brown


I hope yall enjoy all of my recipes and the wonderful recipes you can find on all of these pages!!!!  I'm definitely going to be using some of these recipes for my New Year's Eve party!!! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Craziness I am a TERRIBLE blogger!!!  Even though I have not been posting to my own blog, I can promise you...I have been VERY BUSY following all of my favorite blogs and getting lots of ideas for my classroom!!!  You guys are awesome!!!  I am so thankful for discovering the world of teachers' blogs along with a lot more really helpful information out there on the world wide has made this school year so much easier for me!  There is absolutely NO WAY I can catch up on everything since my last post, so I won't even try.  I did want to post pics of my door for the Christmas door decorating contest we had at school.  My class won first place...they were very proud!!! (Thanks Pinterest!!!)  We made tissue paper trees and some adorable elves riding on reindeer! 

I have TONS of cleaning to do today, and I still have to do some Christimas shopping.  I pray everybody was a wonderfully blessed day today and remember...Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!  Keep Christ in Christmas!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ok...I feel really bad...I start a blog, but I haven't been posting!!!  This will definitely be a time management issue.  It is almost 10:00 p.m., and I am just sitting down to start looking at my computer.  I have some literacy centers that I have created that I want to post as a freebie...but I have not been able to figure out how to get my word document posted.  I will keep trying and get some things up here soon.  I may not have any freebies for people to take advantage of, but there are a lot of great giveaways out there right make sure you go check out these blogs so you can sign up to win!!!

ashleigh's education journey is giving away a $25 gift card to  Go check her out...but hurry up because this ends on the 28th!!!

Crazy for First Grade is giving away a $25 gift card from Office Max!!!  All teachers need supplies...and what is better then free supplies!!!  Her give away also ends on the get there ASAP so you can have a chance at that $25 gift card!!!

Mrs. Saoud at Primary Graffiti is giving away an Easi-Speak USB Recorder!!!  How fun is that!!!  I love any type of technology I can get my hands on!!!  You can actually enter 5 different times for this great giveaway!  This giveaway ends on the 29th!  Hurry up so you don't miss your chance to win this awesome gift.

Time 4 Kindergarten has a giveaway that will be ending on the 30th!  There are 7 different ways to get your name in to win her What Comes Next packet. 

Sunny Days in Second Grade is giving away the most awesome package of goodies from the Dollar Tree. if the Dollar Tree goodies aren't enough...she's also giving away 6 adorable owl cards!  What a great giveaway!!!  This giveaway ends at midnight on the 30th!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, Monday!

I wonder if all teachers go crazy on Monday!!!  No matter how late I stay at school on Friday, or how much work I do over the weekend...Monday is always so least it feels like that!  I was at school till 7:00 on Friday night, worked at home on Saturday on the computer for at least 4-5 hours, and worked in my room on Sunday for about 3 1/2 - 4 hrs...and I still wasn't 100 % ready for the day!  I still had to cut some things out for some games I made for my centers, I had papers that had to be run off, as well as getting my test papers together to go home...which never did happen until after 3:00!!!  I stayed after school till 5:30 today and finished getting things ready for the rest of the I feel better about things.

Ok...enough of that!  We have an exciting week ahead of us...a lot to learn and a lot to do!  We are on our second descriptive paragraph.  We use the Write Source program for our Language curriculum.  This is our 3rd year using this program, and I'm really just feeling comfortable with it.  The 3rd grade ELA teachers at our school did an in-service this summer for all of the teachers in our district, and the tips and strategies they showed us really made me feel a lot more comfortable teaching this program.  I can truly say that I feel like my students are getting so much out of our ELA time this year!  It amazes me how just a few great tips and strategies can take you from feeling like something is impossible to feeling like this is really a great program!

I really believe that part of the reason our school has been able to achieve such great strides is because of the Reading and Math series that we have been using.  Five years ago we began using the DEEP Math program, along with the Everyday Counts program.  If you have never seen the DEEP Math program, I think you would be amazed!  It's nothing but word problems...starting in 1st grade!  It really teaches the kids to think analytically!  We only teach short lessons at the beginning of some lessons.  The students work with a partner to figure out how they can get the answer to the problem.  After the students learn how to be a good partner, this works great!  Our students have improved dramatically in Math since we began using the program.  This is our 4th year using Harcourt Storytown.  Before Storytown we used SFA for 12 years I think!  It was PAST time for a change, and a good change it was!  I really like Storytown...a lot!!!  I poured my heart and soul into creating and making meaningful center activities for my students!  I plan on sharing all of the games that I made.  My students love center time...I love knowing that their center time is not being filled with just some time consuming activities, they are enjoying some really great educational activities that I believe are helping to enrich their learning.

If you have time to leave some comments, let me know what curriculums yall are using and what you think about them!  If you use any of the curriculums we are using I would LOVE to hear what you have to say about them!

I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 2!!!

I have done nothing but think of my blog all day long!  As soon as I got to school I showed my students...of course they loved the fish!!!  Our school colors are red and black, hence the Hattie Watts fish swimming in my tank.  They wanted me to leave my blog page up so they could keep watching the fish...but that wasn't possible because we had a day loaded with learning and tests!

We have all been very excited at school today because we were recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School.  This is such a high honor and we are all so proud.  There are 2 different ways that a school can be recognized as a Blue Ribbon School, and we met both of those requirements.  One requirement was to have increased scores on high stakes testing for 3 consecutive years.  CHECK!  We met the 2nd requirement by becoming a High Poverty/High Performing School.  Forty percent of our high poverty students had to score high for high stakes testing...well...SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT OF OURS DID!!!  Our students and our teachers have been working so hard, but we have to take our hats off to our awesome leader...our principal...Mrs. Niki Fryou!!!  She is STUPENDOUS!!!!!  Great leadership means everything!  

I will be "studying" a lot of blogs this weekend to see what types of posts are being made on the blogs that are A+ blogs...I want to become an A+ blog! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Very First Ever Blog Post!!!!

Wow!!!  I am excited...and nervous at the same very first blog post!!!  I have thought about starting a blog since last school year...I am the QUEEN of procrastination!!!  I started out this school year following A LOT of educational pages on Facebook, which directed me to sooooo many new educational blogs...and I have quickly become addicted to searching out as many blogs as I can every night when I get home and finding as many freebies as I can get my hands on!!!  Since so many other teachers have been helping me out by posting valuable information and resources on their blogs...I decided it was time for me to just go ahead and jump here it goes...Second Grade Swamp Stories is now official! 

 I figured tonight was as good as any other night to get started...the perfect way to end an awesome day!!!  Our school received GREAT news today...HATTIE WATTS ELEMENTARY IN PATTERSON, LOUISIANA IS A 2011 BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL!!!!  WOO HOO!!!!  WE LOVE OUR WEE JACKS!!!!  We also received a reward for High Performing/High Poverty School!  I love my school, I love my students and their parents, and I am sooooo thankful for the most awesome principal in the world!!!  With her guidance and direction, our school has really been soaring!  I can't wait to see what awesome things will take place this year!