Monday, January 31, 2011

Burrito with a side of ADD

We're doomed.

And by "we" I mean teachers.

I'm certainly not a wise old sage when it comes to teaching, but I've been around long enough to have noticed that kids are changing. Each year I find myself needing to do a little more tap dancing and juggling to keep their attention. I'm sure you have too.

Yesterday the fam went to Chipotle for lunch. Do you have a Chipotle near you? Oh, how I love Chipotle. It's loud so people don't notice that my twins are loud. It's counter service so I can enjoy my giant burrito without feeling bad for any waitress that got stuck waiting on "Littlest Learners: Party of 5" and the trail of crumbs we leave that would rival anything Hansel and Gretel could have tossed in the woods. It's fast food so I don't need to entertain the younguns' while we wait for cooked to order edibles. Plus, it is cheap (by dining out standards) and oh-so-yummy!

Anyhow, if you aren't familiar with it, you basically cattle herd through an assembly line of burrito goodness while a team of workers wearing Tshirts with such cleverness as "Foil Shizzle" written on them builds you the burrito of your dreams. The whole process takes only minutes.


Yet, in line in front of me there were three separate families with children under the age of 6. One was playing games on an iTouch, one was playing Angry Birds on an iPhone and the third was reporting current wait times for Test Track and Toy Story Mania using the Disney App on her mom's cell phone. This was not to be rivaled by the (estimated) barely 2 year old sitting in the stroller with the Dsi.


Do you understand how hard it is going to be to attempt to teach these kids and hold their attention in a classroom if they can't even wait in line for 5 minutes with live burrito action in front of them without needing high-tech entertainment?

I love technology. I'm guilty of sitting on the couch with OnDemand on the TV, my smartphone by my side, my MacBook in my lap and my iPad in my hand. I check Facebook constantly for fear I may miss an important update on what an acquaintance from high school (who's existence I had completely forgotten about until he friend requested me) had for dinner. I can Doodle Jump with the best of them. I stream video. I rock the Smartboard. I buy Xbox games for my husband who should have retired from "the sport" fifteen year ago. I get it. I really do. But, I just don't see how we will ever have the means or the funding to meet the changing needs of kids who have had so many bells and whistles, lights, touchscreens and apps from such a young age.

What do y'all think? Am I just old and crotchety or are you finding that you are battling the effects of instant gratification too?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Classroom Organization GIVEAWAY!!!

Last summer I made my humble little publication available to the public and wrote this blog post about it's grand release. I bought a package of 50 large envelopes figuring I would need 24 for my class in the fall anyhow and that would leave me with 26 extras just in case anyone actually bought a copy and I needed to mail it.

Holy Underestimation Batman! I ended up mailing out over 1000 of them between June and September. I had it listed in my online store, which I only run when I'm on summer vacation. We all went back to school and I didn't really think about it.

I'm not sure if someone posted a link somewhere or what happened, but lately I've been receiving emails with requests for info on how to order a copy.

Not wanting to disappoint my fans (because that would be 3 angry people), I have once again made it available online.

You can buy it here for $5.00...that's like the cost of a magazine....or 5 items at Dollar Tree...or 2 of the $2.5o items at the Dollar Spot at Target. You get the idea.

And because I had so much fun with the "spread the love" Valentine's Giveaway I want to give one of these hot-off-the-press-inspirational-motivational-booklets away too.

Heck, I'll even increase it's value by making it a signed copy. You can't get a valuable autograph link that on a Kindle or the Nook, can you? :P

Anyhow, all kidding aside, it does have quite a bit of useful information and helpful tips and I did get a lot of really nice feedback and blushworthy emails. you want to win one?

Mandatory 1st Entry:
Blog, Facebook, Messageboard or Tweet about this (I love how those are all now verbs) with a link to this blog (, leave a separate comment with a link to each one.
Feel free to copy and paste the image above into your post.

Unlimited Additional Entries:
Leave a comment with one of your favorite organization or time-saving tips. Do a separate comment for each tip for extra entries.

I'll do a random comment drawing on Wednesday.

Friday, January 28, 2011

COLLEGE: Then and Now

Think back to college.

And yes I do realize for some of you spring chickens it was only last year, but that’s fine.

You know that annoying person that was in every. single. class. She was easy to spot because she sat in the front row and monopolized 85% of the discussion. She thought she was so much older and wiser because she had “life experience.” Yeah, that’s the one.

I had a sad realization today when I concluded that I am now THAT person.

Don’t mess with karma people.

I made fun of THAT person. I rolled my eyes at THAT person. Now I am THAT person.

Karma will get you every time.

I’m convinced that is why there is a minivan in my driveway.

But, do you want to know something? THAT person really was wiser. Or at least I think I am. :P

So much has changed since I’ve taken classes. Which incidentally wasn’t as long ago as it feels. The coffee is better. The technology is better. The parties are probably better too, but I wouldn’t know because I don’t get out at night.

So as I sit surrounded by PDFs with scribbled notes in the margins, empty Starbucks mugs and other school-related clutter that cause me anxiety, I’ve decided to take a break and focus on how things are the same.


10. I live in a house with roommates who are party animals and want nothing more than to have fun all the time. They tend to be too loud at night and want to nap during the day.

9. I find it hard to concentrate with loud music in the background, yet somebody always has it on. I will say I did prefer Dave Matthews to the theme song to Elmo’s World.

8. It’s still OK to wear your jeans more than once without washing them.

7. I ate Ramen Noodles for lunch last week. Don’t judge me.

6. Textbooks are still way overpriced.

5. There are always empty bottles lying around. Granted these have traces of milk and not Bud Light, but still there are always empty bottles lying around,

4. I only have two hairstyles: ponytail or wet and up in a towel

3. Highlighters are fun.

2. I spend more time debating whose turn it is to clean the dishes than it would take to just do them.

1. Two Words: Pizza. Delivery.

Only now when he comes to the door I can hand him a twenty and wait for my change instead of paying him in chage...that was collected from pockets, couch cushions and the floor of a car. Although given the rate of tuition I'm pretty sure that will be the case by next semester.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Target Stampede

Seriously folks. Get in your car and go. Now! I have found me a Target Dollar Spot Treasure and you need them too.


They are clipboards.
Cheaply-made, cardboard clipboards.

I almost passed them up because unlike Timex which "takes a licking and keeps on ticking," there was no way that these puppies would stand even a day of abuse by the third grade crowd.

But, the funky patterns and cool colors which totally match my, make that work in progress...classroom decor, had me at Hello and I just couldn't stop myself from tossing three of them into my big red cart.

I took them out of their bag the next morning (along with the matching file folders that also hopped into my cart because I died just a little when I saw them) and there was a chorus of ooohs and ahhhs in the classroom. I love my class for many-a-reason, but the fact that they appreciate a colorful office supply as much as I do gets them bonus points.

That's when I had my light bulb moment.

They are thin and lightweight and come with a retractable little metal hook with a hole in it.

You can pushpin it into the wall or you could hot glue it to a bulletin board.

And then just lift the metal clip and attach papers underneath. So here's what I'm thinking...

I will stalk every Target in the area and acquire an entire class set of these bad boys. I will then mount them onto a bulletin board, put a friend's name next to each one and easily display their work by slipping it under the clip. It will be a thing of beauty.

Too bad we're snowed in again or I would be at Target right now. Actually that's a lie. If we weren't snowed in I would be at school right now. But, alas I am home today and as of today's snow day I will also be in school on June 27th. Summer officially starts on June 21st. Color me bitter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Write On!

I mentioned in passing that my teammate and I have started mixin' and matchin' our kids for science and writing. In the past we've attempted something similar where she taught science and I taught social studies and we would just switch our entire classes.

Hated it!

It always felt out of sorts to have an entirely different class of kids in front of me. This time we have split our classes in half and mixed them together for those two subjects.

LOVE it!

Teaching writing is my absolute favorite. She loathes it.

Teaching science makes my head spin. She loves it.

Mixing our kids together has been fantabulous! While we've tried to align our procedures and routines this year, it is helpful to also have 50% of the kids in front of you knowing where the highlighters are, where the paper is, etc. I also love that there is a change in chemistry in the classroom.

We have a direction we are hoping to go in and this was our way of dipping our toe in the water. I so want to dive in.

More to come on that at another time.

For now I want to share with you something I came up with and started doing this year that has knocked my socks off. I call it "writing tours."

I have the kids leave their work at their seat, take their pencil in hand and go on a tour of the tables reading the work of others. This gives them a chance to move around and be inspired by their peers. It also motivates them because they know those same peers are going to be reading their work. It also creates a feeling of teamwork because while they are doing their own work, they are also collaborating.

The reason they have the pencil is because they play a role in providing feedback to the writer.

Last week I had them each compose three possible topic sentences for a descriptive paragraph about something they love. While on the writing tour the class put one checkmark next to the sentence they liked the best out of the three. Afterwards I asked, "does anyone want to share a sentence that the fans went crazy for and those who voted can tell you why they selected it."

Yesterday we divided a paper in 1/2 and labeled one side as compliment and the other as advice. We did talk about advice being constructive criticism and not a cruel remark. We also discussed how a compliment should be specific.
I was blown away by their maturity and the usefulness of their comments. It's a bit like peer editing, but allows for the feedback from many. The students then used those pieces of advice to make revisions.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy, Ummm.....January 22nd?

OK, so "Happy New Year" was oh-so-three weeks ago.

But, lucky for me I did not make a resolution to be more punctual about blogging in real time.

Also lucky for me that I did not make a resolution to eat healthy because these days off from school with three kids and "inclement" weather leave me with little to do but bake cookies. I'm about 3.5 dozen cookies away from consuming more cookies in 2011 than Santa does on all of Christmas Eve.

And remember, the dude hits a lot of houses.

Anyhoo...better late than never right?

I wanted to share my super-cute New Year's Bulletin Board. The kids wrote and published a paragraph about a goal they have for 2011. I'm on a kick to work in as much craftiness as I can so I then had them each create a little paper version of themselves to go with it. I hot glued the party blowers on.

I do love 3D elements of a bulletin board.
I also cut the hat in half, snipped about 1.5 inches in and folded it down to make tabs. I stapled that to the board along with a tiara.

Don't fret about the fact that it is January 22nd. Remember you can now get the hats and blowers super cheap and do a Happy New Year board for the new school year in September. It would also make a cute board to write about birthdays.

And on a sidenote: I realized how starved for creativity my kiddos were during this project. While the scissors were snipping and the glue was oozing, a student fell off of her chair...AND BROKE HER FINGER. As in, no-gym-for-a-month-wear-a-little-metal-brace broke her finger. And nobody noticed.

I had been hunched over a friend helping him work the scissors (on 2nd thought, that should have tipped me off that they were starved for creativity, but I digress) when my injured young student approached me frantically saying, "I need to go to the nurse. I hurt my finger."

As she was whisked off to the nurse, I inquired about what had happened. Her chair was upright. There had not been a thud or a scream. In a room of 23 students, nobody could tell me what happened. Instead I heard, "I was busy glueing my hair on" and "I was cutting out my mouth and didn't see a thing."

Ahhh....successful integration of the arts. Well, minus ending the day with one student who can't work a glue bottle or a pair of scissor for 4-6 weeks.

Friday, January 21, 2011

But, What Happens Next?

As I type this I sit sipping my coffee as I do every morning at 5:18 AM.

Oh, it's not that I'm uber-regimented in the time that I wake up each morning. Having an alarm sound at 5:00 AM would actually be a luxury. Instead, I've become nocturnal.

Those of you who have itty-bitties at home (or have in the past) can feel free to shout out an, "Amen Sister" after my next line:

Teething is cruel and unusual punishment for all those involved.

Holy Moly! I don't recall the Boy being this miserable. They screech, they cling, they fall to the floor in misery. All. Day. Long. And then night comes. And we give them a heaping helping of liquid Tylenolish-type-product (since real Tylenol and Motrin are banned from stores) and pray that it is the miracle drug that will allow them to sleep through the night, but alas it wears off during the Witching Hour and the screeching hour begins again at 2:00 A.M.!

And when your head is spinning with to do lists and there is a lengthy syllabus sitting in a binder with an abundance of mandatory reading to do and the 3rd grade assessments aren't going to magically correct say screw it and get up.

And that is when I start watching the clock and waiting for an acceptable hour to push the start button on the coffeepot. I've officially deemed that to be 5:00 AM and so...

As I type this I sit sipping my coffee as I do every morning at 5:18 AM.

Except the chaos known as "morning rush hour" at our house will not ensue afterwards on this day because today is yet another snow day in my district (and a whole bunch of y'alls districts too).

If this were not a public blog I would probably have tossed a few bad words into that last phrase.

To recap: We've had winter break. We had 2 snow days last week. We had MLK day on Monday. We have another snow day today. Throw in your usual weekends and my schedule and routines are all discombobulated.

And if you have been reading along for awhile then you know girlfriend here is nothing without her routines. Plus this is the "magical time of year." The months of January through March are always long, but the kids are always in such a great place to learn and we make so much growth.

Curses to you Mother Nature. She will also be the one who decides that it will be 90+ degrees in June when we make up these snow days. Boo Hiss!

Do you want to know the real reason that I'm bummed about the unexpected day off?

It's the same reason that I suspect many of my kiddos will be bummed (Maybe I'm kidding myself and they are all jumping for joy in their pajamas right about now, but I do think there will be some disappointment.)

It's because I want to know what happens next in our current read aloud.

It's also because I am having so much fun reading this book to them.

It's because of The BFG.

I love me some Roald Dahl. My husband read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to our son last summer and they both really enjoyed it. My class was way into it this year too. As for Matilda? Swoon! Love the book. Love the movie. James and the Giant Peach? Classic! But The BFG is new to me. It's been in my class library for years, but I've never read it.

My team teacher insisted I give it a try. Eh? I wasn't all that interested.

We've recently started to mix and match our two classes and she has taken over science and I have taken over writing. We started by creating heart maps of things they love to inspire their writing and almost all of her kiddos included the BFG. I figured if her peeps loved it so much then mine would too.

We are about a third of the way through the book and it. is. awesome!

They all sit there with their eyes one me, hands in their laps and mouths open like little statues mesmerized by my reading. They frequently break their frozen gazes to drop their mouths open wider while quickly looking around to see their peers reactions to certain lines and for fits of laughter.

We are loving it!

I have plans next week to do a writing activity with it. I'm going to take each of their photos in the same position as that of the little girl on the cover. I am then going to create some writing paper using the image on the cover minus the little girl and then attach their pictures to the giant's hand.

I love altering book covers and adding their images and this one begs for it.

For those of you in younger grades who want to do something similar, my favorite book cover to do that with is Harold and the Purple Crayon. Just add your little ones' heads in place of Harold's and have them do an illustration in purple crayon. Super cute!

And now I need to come up with a plan to tell the Boy that we have a snow day when he wakes up. It will very much be equivalent to those Disney commercials where the parents surprise the kids with a trip to the Magic Kingdom and then immediately throw them on a plane. He will be THAT excited.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spreading the Love

Thanks for your kind words and your links. I had fun discovering some new blogs.

And as promised, I am spreading the love. Below are the first 5 commenters to leave links to their blog or website.

The Thrasher Family (ummm...can I come to Hawaii too?)

Mrs. Frail's Frogs (super cute template)

Queen of the 1st Grade Jungle (love her pointer bucket)

Mrs. Guntorius' Class (lots of great closeups of kids' work)

And the random drawing winner from the remaining comments was...

One Extra Degree (found this one at a perfect time as it has a great activity for my magnetism and electricity unit)

If you are one of my winners email me at from the address you would like the kit emailed to and I will send it right along. If you didn't win, you can snag a copy of it by clicking here for the instant download.

Monday, January 17, 2011

There's Something in it for You

My doorstep moments ago. There is nothing fun inside.

I have Billy Madison's voice running through my head, "Back to school...back to show my dad that I'm no fool."

Gosh, I love me some Adam Sandler.

Why is this song running through my head? Not because a 3 day weekend is winding down. Not because the 3 day weekend coupled with two snow days meant that I've only worked 1 out of the past 5 days (but who's counting). The reason why it's popping up on my mental shuffle is because I am going back to school tomorrow.

Grad School that is.

How am I getting there you ask?

Why, I'll be riding the bitter bus to campus. On a scale of 1-10, my excitement level is currently at -5. Yep, that is negative 5. I'm just not feeling it.

Don't get me wrong. I totally hearted college the first time around. Heck, I even enjoyed my initial grad school work down in sunny Florida.

But, I was not employed.

Nor did I have 3 wee ones underfoot.

And I'm pretty sure nobody is going to be asking me to pledge their sorority or inviting me to a keg party tomorrow.


I'm sure by now you're thinking "quit your whining" and "what's in it for me?" Followed by, "your title said there's something in it for me." Keep reading...

Well, with grad school come textbooks.

And they come at a cost.

And to add insult to injury there is sometimes a shipping charge too.

Sure, offers free super-saver shipping, but it is slow.

And I don't know about you, but I've got a bit of Veruca Salt in me and, "I want it now!" However, I'm also cheap and I don't want to pay for faster shipping.

So I don't. And you don't have to either with this handy dandy tip. Just sign up for the Amazon Mom's Club and you'll receive a free 3 month membership to Amazon Prime which gives you super fast and free shipping.

Amazon Prime is a membership program that gives you and your family unlimited fast shipping, such as FREE Two-Day shipping and One-day shipping for $3.99 per item on alleligible purchases for an annual membership fee of $79. Eligible customers can try out a membership by starting a free trial.

So there you go. A little tip on saving time and money for taking the time to read through my whining. I'll post the "Share the Love" links tomorrow along with the winner of the comment drawing. You can still win the Valentine Unit if you are in the gambling, love-spreading mood.

And now I need to brush up on my hackey sack skills and buy me a Trapper Keeper. I'm going to college tomorrow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Who Wants Free Stuff?

Don't you just love 3 day weekends?

Question: Do you view today as 2nd Saturday or 1st Sunday?

For the first time in weeks, I ventured into Target. I always make a budget in January and I know that I am not capable of walking under that illuminated bulls-eye without exiting with a minimum of $60.00 worth of randomness in a big red cart.

I was happy to see the bathing suits were out.

Because regardless of what the calendar or that crazy little groundhog says, the arrival of bathing suits and patio furniture means spring-is-a-comin'!

I was also excited to see the beauty that is the seasonal display. While not as thrilling to me as when the new crayons and notebooks grace those very shelves in August, I did get a bit giddy at the plethora of hearts and the abundance of chocolate.

Some people find inspiration in sophisticated ways.

I find it in the Target Dollar Spot and in a bag of red, white and pink M & Ms.

And I turned that inspiration into a new thematic kit that I just uploaded to TpT.

Oh, and I'm going to give five away. Read on...

It's fun and educational and contains enough pink to make your little boys puke. I modified the activities so that they would work for grades K-3 easily and to make it easy for you to differentiate within your classroom.

Below is the complete table of contents and the 4-1-1 on what's included.

As for how to get one of the 5 freebies...

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, simply spread the love. Blog about my blog (good, bad or ugly) and post a link to it. Leave a comment here letting me know where to find your post. If you are one of the first five people to do so I will email the entire kit to you and post a link to your blog to spread the love back at you.

If more than 5 people want to play along, I'll do a random drawing for a 6th set for anyone else who spreads the love.


Graphing 1

Use a box of conversation hearts to complete the graph. Younger learners could do this as a center activity with adult guidance. Older learners may complete it independently and then record observations in a math journal.

Making 2

Cut the letters at the bottom apart and use them as manipulatives to construct words. You could have younger learners create word families and brainstorm other words using those word families.

Poetry 3

Print a copy for each student. Either attach a photo of the student or have each child draw a self-portrait in the box. Decorate the image using a collage technique and pieces of string, ribbon, paper, etc. As a challenge, you could have the students underline the verbs and circle the nouns.

Opposites Attract Antonym 4

Print one copy of the cards and laminate for durability (optional). Cut each card in half in a variety of patterns so that the cards become self-correcting. Print a copy of the worksheet (page 5) for each student. The children match a word with it’s antonym and record it onto the worksheet. They may then record their own list of antonyms.

Hugs and Kisses Sight Word 6

Hugs and Kisses are represented with Xs and Os so what better way to practice sight words than with a tic-tac-toe game. Print as many copies as you would like for your students to play with. Another option is to slide a copy into a clear page protector and use dry erase markers. You could also project this page onto a Smart board. One student is Xs and the other is Os. Before marking the box, the child needs to read the sight word.

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates Computation 7

Included are two versions of this game. One reinforces basic addition facts and the other focuses on the 3’s table in multiplication. You will need to add 2 dice to this game. Each game comes with a game board and recording sheet (print one per player) as well as a printable sign to place at the center.

Hogs and Kisses Writing 13

After completing this writing activity you will have an adorable bulletin board to display. The students will be using their senses to complete a descriptive writing project about Hershey’s Kisses. Included are: a graphic organizer to guide the brainstorming/webbing process and three levels of writing paper making it applicable for grades Pre-K through 5th. I have the students make paper pigs using craft supplies to display with the writing. I have included a bulletin board sign to print and add as your title.

What is Love? Class 18

After completing this writing activity you will have an adorable class book. Included are: a graphic organizer to guide the brainstorming/webbing process and three levels of writing paper making it applicable for grades Pre-K through 5th. I do this every year and it is always hysterical. I even displayed copies of this class book at my wedding. I’ve included a cover for you to use with your book.

Valentine’s Math 22

Included are two levels of math activities that focus on estimating, number sense and computation. You’ll need to add Conversation Hearts to this activity.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I have my fair share of fears.

But, when it comes to 'rocking in a fetal position' phobias, we are talking about rodents.


Petrified does not begin to describe my feelings. I can't even look at squirrels too long without getting creeped out, but mice are the worst.

We've lived in our house for 4.5 years and have been blissfully mouse-free.

Ironically, the person we bought the house from was a retired 1st grade teacher in my district. He had grown up in the house and lived here his entire life. He was very friendly with one of the teachers at my school. I took great comfort in her telling me about how he had called her one time because there was a mouse in the house and he wanted to borrow her cat. She said he had lived here for almost 50 years and only had that one mouse encounter and was at a loss on how to deal with it.

I had been lulled into a false sense of security.

On Wednesday night, one of the twins woke up around 1 am acting like it was morning. Hubby and I took her downstairs. As we were sitting in the living room by the glow of the TV, I swear I saw something scurry along the baseboard.

Admittedly, I should be wearing glasses, but I know I saw something.


I've been told they are more scared of me than I am of them, but I'm doubtful. Because right now I am sitting at the table with my feet all "criss-cross-applesauce" on my chair. I desperately love this 4:30-6:00 AM window when the house is silent and I am the only one awake.

But instead of embracing the silence as I have for the past 4.5 years, I am analyzing every creak and squeak of the house and debating going back upstairs. For reals people. If I am contemplating giving up the solitude and trekking upstairs instead of blog-hopping and coffee-sipping then you know this is serious.

And I'm pretty sure that the alleged mouse is not sitting around with his feet up on a chair denying himself a caffeine fix because he is afraid to go into the kitchen.

So for those reasons, I do not believe that he is more scared of me than I am of him.

I do think all blog posts should have pictures though.

And you can bet your sweet bippy that I am not about to google "mouse photo" to get some random image that is appropriate for this post.

So I will leave you with a few pictures from Thursday...AKA Snow Day Round 2! Included are a few culinary ideas you could do with your class.

I sent my child out into the wild to hunt for our dinner. Well, actually it's just the backyard and he was simply instructed to fill a bowl with snow.

So that we could make "Snow Ice Cream." Mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cream, and a tablespoon of vanilla. Then add in 4 cups of snow (white, not yellow) one at a time and mix. It was like a vanilla shake and really yummy.

And then I made these super-cute little banana snowmen for an afternoon snack. I used rainbow sprinkles for the nose.
Stay warm and enjoy your 3 day weekend.

That's a Crock of...

When life gives you lemons you are supposed to make lemonade.

And I'm pretty sure that when life gives you a snow day, you are supposed to make cookies.

So we did.

Big, chewy, yummy, chocolate-chip-oatmeal cookies.

And then ate them until our bellies hurt.

As far as snow days go, I rocked this one. I left the TV off and we read and baked and played games and did puzzles and made crafts and played in the snow.

When you play the role of Stay-at-Home mom only on a random Wednesday, it's easy to stay in the running for Mother of the Year.

And Holy Snow Batman! I offered to go out and shovel the stairs at 6:30 because I knew I would be in the house all day. I got them down to the concrete. By noon there was another foot of snow on them.

In the spirit of multitasking, Hubby shoveled the back stairs and turned the pile into snow fort.

And since this blog is billed as "Saving Teachers Time and Money," I feel it is my duty to share with you a useful tidbit that will do just that.

It's not rocket science and it's not new to you, but trust me when I say, "crock pots got it goin' on!"

Here's the thing.

Talking about crock pots makes me feel all old and uncool.

Combining the words crock pot + pot roast totally makes me feel and sound matronly. However, I was given the crock pot pot roast recipe from a coworker who is younger and hipper and more stylish than I'll ever be so it's totally OK.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

And at the risk of receiving hate mail from those who believe "Earth Day is Every Day" I must tell you about the Crock Pot liner.

Along with parchment paper, they are little culinary gifts from Heaven.

Busy work day?

Throw a whole bunch of stuff in the crock pot liner and go to work. Come home to a house that smells delish and dinner that is ready. The downside is that I eat lunch at 11:00 get home about 3:30. It is all I can do to not stick my entire head into the trough of goodness.

After dinner just put the leftovers into those cute little Ziploc containers, toss the liner and stick the crock pot back into it's hiding place. You can make tons of food in it and therefore have lunches ready to go or stock your freezer.

I made the yummiest pot roast yesterday and because it was a snow day I was home all day while it simmered. After Hubby got home, I took the boy for a walk (well I walked and pulled a sled while he rode around the Hood like a King). Two blocks into the walk I noticed that dogs were being friendlier than usual.

Then it hit me.

I smelled of pot roast!

Fearful that other wildlife would find me enticing I quickly scurried home.

And devoured my yummy dinner.

And then just tossed the liner and called the kitchen clean!

What is your favorite crock pot recipe?