Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Book Club and Ritz Cracker Rolo Sandwiches

When something is great, I can't wait to share it with you. Likewise when something is a horrible failure. When something is just ok, however, I struggle with whether or not I should share it. This treat is one of those just ok things.

We had a book club meeting last week and I wanted to bring a yummy treat but knew that, because of a workshop out of town, I'd be short on time and needed something quick and easy. I decided to make some Ritz Cracker Rolo Sandwiches that I'd seen on Pinterest. I don't want to link to the original source because I don't think that would be kind.

They were super simple to make. I placed the crackers salty side down on a baking sheet and placed a Rolo on top of each cracker. I then cooked them in my toaster oven on 300 for 90 seconds, until the chocolate and caramel was squishable but not melted. Next I removed them from the toaster oven and placed another cracker on top, squishing the Rolo a bit.

I didn't really like these treats. I felt like they had too much cracker and not enough filling. Despite my reservations, I took them to book club where only about 1/3 of the platter was eaten. I brought the rest home and J (who normally hates anything homemade) finished them off so I guess they couldn't have been that bad. Would I make them again? Probably not.

It's an interesting coincidence that my just ok treats were for our discussion of A Prayer For Owen Meany. I didn't dislike the book but felt it, like the treats, was just ok. I found it really hard to get into and couldn't get through more than a couple pages at a time. To be honest, I didn't get it finished in time for the meeting but plan to continue plugging through it because I want to read the end.

Shared at: A Creative Princess, Sew Much Crafting, The Crafty Blog Stalker, The Thriftiness Miss, Meegan Makes, Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Master Bedroom Overhaul Phase 2: Painted Wooden Headboard

Our headboard is nothing fancy but it’s one of my favourite things in our house. I love that J made it and that it's full of imperfections which I think add to it's charm.

J actually built this headboard several years ago. When looking online I found this beautiful headboard at Deep Thoughts by Cynthia and followed the links to these plans by Ana White. J followed the instructions pretty closely, adding an extra board down the middle of the back for more support. We also used cheap wood and didn't fill anything in. He built it in the days before I was a blogger so I don’t have any pictures.


Originally I painted it purple. I had no plan or design scheme; I just really love purple. It stayed that way for a few years, until we started redoing our bedroom and I decided the purple had to go.


We brought it into the basement and busted out the white spray paint. As much as I can’t wait to eventually finish our basement, I’m going to miss having somewhere to paint indoors. It took one coat of primer and seven coats of white spray paint (a lot even for a spray paint lover like me) but now it’s a nice, crisp white. After the paint was dry I took a flat screwdriver and went over the lines between the boards. 


J and I brought it back upstairs and put it in place. I love the look of the white with the blue walls and brown bedding (which you can see here), and can’t wait to get the matching brown curtains sewn and in place.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Halloween Tree and Other Decor

I wasn’t actually planning on decorating for Halloween this year. I don’t really like the holiday (actually that’s a huge understatement) and, given how overwhelmed I’ve been feeling I figured I’d skip it (the decorating, not the day). As you can see, I changed my mind.

First I brought out my jars I painted last year. These are one of my favourite seasonal crafts I’ve ever made!

Next I decided to set up my Halloween tree. Last year I found the stones, which include the cutest little silver skulls, and the ornaments at Michaels after Halloween marked down (I think 70% off) so I picked up a few packages of each. I poured the stones in the vase, placed some branches in among the stones, and then hung the ornaments on the branches.

I took the extra stones and sprinkled them around the dresser I decorate in place of a mantle and called it done.  Even though Halloween isn’t my thing, I love the decorations.

Shared at: Meegan Makes, A Conquered Mess, Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, C.R.A.F.T., Maison de Pax, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Clean and Scentsible, Ashley's Dandelion Wishes, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess, Sew Much Crafting, 4 You With Love, The Crafty Blog Stalker

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Master Bedroom Overhaul Phase 1: Paint and Bedding

First off, I’m sorry for disappearing for a little while. Things have been a little (or a lot) chaotic lately and blogging had to take a backseat. Between teaching, taking my final course, spending time with J and the dogs, and my new found love of running, I really just don’t have enough hours in the day. With that said, I want you to know I’m not stopping, just not stressing about sticking to a schedule. Instead, I’ll post when I have time and things to share.

Now on to the real reason you’re here: the master bedroom overhaul. We plan on working on this room in phases, the first phase being paint and bedding. Seeing as both J and I have a four day weekend for Thanksgiving we thought this would be a great time to begin.

Below is what we started with and I’m embarrassed to show and tell you about it. We had a tv stand from J’s bachelor pad, a tv that wasn’t hooked up (we haven’t had cable in a year), the armoire from my childhood bedroom, a bed we bought together and a headboard that J made, a nightstand from a friend, and some ill-fitting and unmatching accessories. As you can see, it was quite random.

So far this weekend we’ve painted the walls this pretty blue called Pacific Pearl which, although it’s not exactly what I wanted, I really like.

The only thing that will stay in the room, other than the bed and headboard (more on that later) is the armoire, which I don’t love but J really wants to keep. It's where he keeps all his clothes so I guess I shouldn't complain; I get the closet all to myself.

Of course, Benson wanted his photo taken.

Also, I've put out the new duvet cover I bought at Ikea that I think looks nice with the blue paint, the white trim, and the dark cherry wood. I'm not one for unnecessary bedding (Who needs more work when making the bed?) so we'll see how long the decorative pillow cases last.

There you have phase one – paint and bedding. Next on the list is making the curtains to match the duvet and then I plan on painting the headboard. Right now it’s sitting in the hallway in all its purple glory and I can’t decide what colour to paint it. I was originally thinking navy but I think that might be too dark with brown curtains and dark end tables so now I’m thinking white. What colour would you paint it?
Have a mentioned how much I love my headboard?
It's one of my favourite pieces of furniture!
After that it’s staining end tables, finding lamps and accessories, making dog beds, and setting up a jewelry area, among other things. Like I said, this bedroom overhaul will definitely be happening in stages.

Shared at: C.R.A.F.T., Maison de Paix, Kathe With An E, A Stroll Through Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Clean and Scentsible, Ginger Snap Crafts, Ashley's Dandelion Wishes, A Creative Princess, 4 You With Love, Crafty Blog Stalker, Artsy-Fartsy Mama, Thriftiness Miss, Meegan Makes, A Conquered Mess, Serenity You

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Daily 5: Are We Crazy To Try This?

Have you heard of the Daily 5? Maybe I’m late to the party but I only found out about it last year. I'm not in any way affiliated with the sisters or their program but you can check them out here. The whole process of implementing the program seemed very overwhelming so I thought I'd share how it's working for us during our first year. 

Toward the end of last year, a colleague and I decided to implement the daily 5 into our junior high classroom starting this September. To be honest, while I loved the idea of the daily 5 I wasn’t sure how it would work at our school, an alternate school with one room for all junior high students. Despite my reservations I figured other schools in our area were having success with it so why not give it a try, right? Plus anyone who knows me knows Language Arts is my true love!   

Aren't these posters adorable?
Here's the original source.

The first thing we did was start visiting other teachers. In June we went to an elementary school in our district and observed a couple classes who had been using the daily 5 successfully for quite a while. It was fantastic to see the students all working independently, on task, while the teachers were able to work on focused mini-lessons with small groups. In my mind, if the little kids could do it, so could our bigger kids. We also spent time talking with the Special Ed coordinator at that school, getting ideas about where to start and what to do. She was extremely helpful and more than willing to answer my many (and I mean MANY) questions.

Over the summer I read the daily 5 book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. It’s an easy read that breaks it down quite simply. I like that it gave specific instructions on how to plan and implement each component of the program. While it wasn’t really geared towards the age and type of students at our school, I could see how a lot of the ideas could be used with just a little tweaking. There were a few components that wouldn’t necessarily translate well but I think that’s the case with anything.

These are so fun I almost wish I teach little kids... almost...
With that little bit of knowledge and preparation we jumped right in. We have daily 5 time for the last half hour of every school day and spend the first class explaining why we were doing the daily 5 (improving enjoyment of and skills related to reading and writing) and what each class would look like. Then we moved right into “Read to Self”, which we've been doing for the past four weeks. I don’t want this post to get too long so I’ll save that for the next one.