Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

I've noticed a lot of people doing Top 13 posts for 2013, but I don't think I'm qualified to follow as that would be half of my posts for the year. Yep, this was a pretty lean post year. This is going to be my 28th and last post of 2013, albeit a small one.

The picture above is of our yearly and appropriately gifted ornaments from the Barefoot Contessa and Alison. Each year they manage to outdo themselves.

Can you tell what event these ornaments were inspired by?

Nailed it. Right down to the race numbers. Alison found an Etsy seller that handmade these ornaments based on this picture. Love them.

I love Peanut Head's sunglasses too. They look like tinted swim goggles.

We had a quiet Christmas in the Scott house. I was unfortunate enough to catch a chest cold on the eve of Christmas Eve, and I spent Christmas day on the couch reading and napping. Although it wasn't fun, I was so thankful that I didn't have to be at work or write sub plans in order to rest and recover. If I'm going to be sick, this is the time to do it. Sadly.

I think this is my favorite Christmas present. It's from Stinkerbell.

Number 3 is a little odd, isn't it? Since when is a kiss a chore? Well, the Stink loathes lip kisses. Especially after the giver has slept or eaten, as indicated by the addendum next to the check box.

I wonder if she'd notice if I erased her addendum and added fifty more check boxes instead.

Probably she would and then as a consequence declare the entire coupon null and void.

However, because I'm not beneath trickery, I'm going to collect on that lip kiss, and then I'm going to print out another coupon on account of I scanned the original for this post. I shall then approach the Stingy Kisser and attempt to collect on another kiss with my counterfeit coupon. Aaaaaand, don't tell the Stink, but before I collect on that kiss I'm going to eat a gigantic bowl of mashed potatoes (her nemesis) upon awaking from a long winter's nap.

I simply cannot wait.

This is the first Christmas vacation since I went back to work that we've had a two week long break. It has been awesome. I don't feel like I'm running out of time, although on Sunday I'm sure I will, and I've had a lot of time to do the things I want to do and relax.

One of the things I've been doing is working on my digital album. I'm up to 70 pages completed, and I now need just 30 before I'll be ready to print my next book. 

The layouts above are a new album I just started for myself and my siblings. I'm working on an actual album for my mom, and I decided that I may as well scan the pictures as I go and create albums for myself and my brother and sister.

Of course that meant I needed to buy a new digital kit. Since I'm using Becky Higgins' Digital Project Life and the templates, and my pictures are older, I chose the Heritage Edition.

This is just a glimpse of that kit, but you can see it better by following the link above. If you want to check out the other Project Life Digital Kits, go here.

Not that I'm advertising or anything. Becky Higgins has no idea who I even am. I just love the concept and I'm all about getting things done simply.

On that note, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I'm just going to pop in here and pretend like it hasn't been more than 40 days and 40 nights since I last blogged. After all, it doesn't seem like it's been that long, and perception is everything, isn't it?

Life is good in the Scott household.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving at home, and I had the entire week off. It was awesome.

My sister-in-law, Marcia, visited for the week, and we had our usual group of friends over for our yearly Orphan's Thanksgiving dinner. I say that because we're a group of people who don't have any family nearby to spend the holiday with, so we spend it together. In actuality, we've become a family.

Glitter Man brought his camera at my request. I'm always the one behind the camera, and when I'm cooking I forget to take pictures, so he took care of documenting the holiday for us. I'm super grateful because he takes amazing pictures.

When he arrived, Jo Jo promptly began making love to his camera case. I don't know why she was so attracted to it. It's not like he has animals at home that she can smell on his case. She does it to any bag that he brings over to our house too, so it's not like she's an out of work model trying to get someone to take her picture.

Eventually she got off the case in order to take advantage of a sunny spot on the back of the couch.

Gunny spent most of the day outside because turkey. Glitter Man tried to Photoshop all the chicken poop out of this picture, but it proved to be too great a task. It's okay, this is my life. Chicken poop.

Peanut Head and the girls spent much of the day setting up the lighted yard ornaments, and they did not enjoy themselves. You can get a sense of the atmosphere by observing the forced smiles and stiff body language. At one point the girls came in and asked Aunt Marcia "Why does Daddy have to be so grumpy?"

Aunt Marcia opened a can of Whoop A** on that child and admonished "All of y'all are being grouchy and unpleasant, and it's a vicious cycle! One of you is going to have to make the CHOICE to just BE HAPPY if you want it to get better. Now get out there and be pleasant!"

It was awesome because it wasn't me saying it. If I could have, I would have piped Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy" at full volume out into the front yard. We had a few grouchy garden gnomes setting up our display of holiday cheer.

Glitter Man snapped this very nice picture of Stinkerbell and Lucy Goosey. She looks so sweet, doesn't she?

Yes, I'm talking about the cat.

The Stink told me earlier this week that she got an e-mail from Santa informing her that she was on the Naughty List. Seriously. Who does that?

No really. I didn't sign up for that service and I'm a little disappointed that I don't get to take credit for it.

And if that isn't disturbing enough, Stinkerbell didn't seem the least bit concerned about it. Her attitude was all "Go ahead, Santa. Bring it. I don't need no stinkin' presents."

Glitter Man got this picture of me and I was happy to see that I only have two chins at this angle. 

He did also take some pictures of the Renaissance Woman, but the camera was not her friend that day. You know how it is? Your mouth is open and your eyes be lookin' a little crazy. It was like that.

Therefore, out of respect for her, I'm not going to post them.

Whatever. I'm afraid of her, and I have a two week vacation coming up that I do not want to miss.

Peanut Head and I just today started our Christmas treat production. We're getting a late start.

I'd like to say it's because we've been awesomely productive, but the truth is, we didn't wanna.

We got our first neighbor gift today and that freaked us out. Sort of lit a fire under our butts.

So much that I made five batches of Cranberry White Chocolate Bark.

We found a new source for our white chocolate this year because Baker's pulled a fast one and started boxing their white chocolate in 4 oz. boxes instead of 6 oz. boxes. They changed the box so that it's longer and skinnier to try to trick us. They're boxing a lot of air with the 4 oz. box of chocolate. The only reason we caught it is because we do math in this house, and we're armed with that spreadsheet for the freak show that is our holiday baking.

Anyway, Winco sells white chocolate in their bulk foods section. I think it started out as a gigondo fifty pound candy bar for the Jolly Green Giant, and then they cut it up like this and put it in a big barrel so it looks all rustic and pioneer like.

I went through eight pounds of it today.

That sad little stack on Peanut Head's Martha Stewart bench is the beginning of our holiday baking. The empty containers on the right are what we still need to fill.

I guess we know what we'll be doing this week.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Before you start thinking that this post is going to be about Zombies, which I love by the way, I'll just tell you right out that what I really mean is that I'm still alive. It's been almost four weeks since my last post, which is just crazy, and as much as I try not to, I feel guilty about staying away for so long.

Everything is good though. In fact, quite great. I'm having a good school year and I love my students. Not in a creepy way, I just think they're pretty awesome.

I've been buried since school started though, and I can't seem to catch up. I feel like the hamster in a wheel, except that I'm running the wrong direction and maybe it's really a gyroscope.

Whine whine, though. I didn't come here to be a buzz kill. Changing the subject to unicorns and rainbows.

Before I forget, this is my last chance to remind you to enter the giveaway for the Monster headphones, here. It ends this week. As a matter of fact, I have mine on right now. My noisy family is in the middle of watching a Grimm marathon, and I'm satisfied having watched most of them at least once peripherally. Much like second hand smoke, except it doesn't kill or maim.

In other news, I'm loving the beautiful fall weather. The tree in the picture above is in our front yard and it makes me happy every time I look at it. I gaze longingly at it when I pull in and out of my driveway on my way to and from school.

As many people experienced earlier this month, we were faced with Peanut Head going on furlough as a result of the government shut down. Although it was scary, we didn't really panic or lose sleep over it, because it's one of those things that you can't control and you just have to hunker down and deal. We've been poor before, so we tightened our belts for a couple weeks and I cancelled my nail appointment with tears in my eyes.

Thankfully, Peanut Head avoided furlough by the skin of his teeth, and I was able to reschedule.

Isn't my mummy Cee-UTE?

Not only was I able to keep my nail appointment, but I didn't have to cancel my already overdue hair appointment. My grays were getting very sproingy and in your face, and they needed some TLC.

I can't believe I'm talking about hair and nails. Geesh. Allow me to change the subject one more time.

I want to talk about some of the fun I've been having with my co-workers at school. We have this one teacher in particular who has the nickname "Peppy" because she's super ADHD like Tigger on Winnie the Pooh. In fact, she's so hyper that I've told her that she's like a hummingbird on crack. I'm totally not kidding.

We have conversations and I have to snap my fingers at her and say "Get to the point, Peppy!" It doesn't phase her a bit. You have to love her though. She keeps things interesting.

For example, we went to an iSTEM conference in June, and at lunch our Principal walked in with his iPad Mini tucked into the back of his pants. Like his pants were a holster or something. It was so funny. Then Peppy waits for him to sit down and get comfortable, and then she stands up and stuffs her iPad not-Mini into her size 0 trousers, stuffs a coke in the back pocket for good measure, and then walks up to our Principal's table and circles it three times. Like she's in a traffic circle and can't decide if she wants to exit because she's having so much fun.

Our sweet Principal, bless his sweet little heart, is completely oblivious to the whole show, in spite of our entire table laughing hysterically across the room. I was laughing so hard I dang near had an asthma attack and I did wet myself just the tinsiest little bit. No lie.

Peppy wasn't able to get his attention with her runway trick, so she saunters up to the treat table and puts together a little sampling of treats for him, and then she walks back and offers it to him.

Still no reaction.

I think I need to frame the picture above and give it to him for Christmas. I can feel an asthma attack coming on just thinking about her circling his table. It was seriously so funny.

I take great delight in hassling Peppy. She has this cute little stuffed monster that I covet, because I heart monsters, and I'm always stealing it and hiding it from her. One day he was in my filing cabinet with just an arm sticking out, waiting for her to rescue him.

It's gotten so bad that her students have taken to assisting me in my shifty dealings.

Last week one of her students tossed the monster to me across the hall and then I duct taped him to my door looking out.

I also torture Peppy by sending ransom notes over to be taped to her door. 

One day I tried all day to acquire Peppy's monster so I could stick one of his legs in the back of my pants and ask Peppy "Does this monster make my butt look big?" I never could get him though, because a pair of her students took him from her. She was accusing me of stealing him and I kept telling her that it wasn't me. Finally the two students relented and gave the monster back. The best part of that was that they escorted her over to my classroom to apologize for accusing me of stealing him. 

It's all very immature, I know, but this is middle school and I firmly believe that you have to be a little bit crazy and immature to work with this age group anyway. At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


So, funny story. I got home from work one day and there was a package waiting on the doorstep. I didn't think much of it because Peanut Head has been shopping on the internet, acquiring obscure little pieces and parts to make this or that thing work most spectacularly.

Sometimes don't ask don't tell is just a good policy for everyone involved.

It simplifies things.

And keeps innocent parties out of long drawn out conversations that perhaps they don't want to get into.

Nothing creepy, just the Peanut Head factor, in that much of what comes out of his mouth flies right over my head, leaving me unconscious in the process. And I love that he's smart, it makes me swoon, but sometimes having a conversation with him requires a substantial amount of background knowledge.

And then here's me with the attention span of a gnat, already getting off topic.

Anyway, so there's this box and I didn't even bother to look to see who it was addressed to, because I know I didn't order anything. So of course I ignored it, and Peanut Head came home and was acting all surprised that we had this box. Like he hadn't already had three of them that week.

I tell him "You must have bought something and you're doing so much shopping that you don't even remember what you ordered. You're pushing buttons and not knowing what you're even doing on that Internet, Peanut Head."

So he opens it and . . .

"SQUE-E-EEEEE-A-A-A-L!!! My headphones are here!" maybe came out of my mouth in stereo surround sound.

Peanut Head looks at me sort of startled and wants to know What Up with all the accusatory accusations I be flinging at him.

I explain, maybe too fast for him to follow, that I forgot that I took the BlogHer survey applying to review the Monster headphones. And they picked me!!!!

How lucky am I?

So lucky, let me tell you. 

So the deal is that I get to review the headphones and I get to keep them. These headphones are sweet too, so I'm way happy about it.

I don't do many reviews so I'm going to tell you straight up that this is genuine. I wanted to review these headphones because I use headphones a lot on account of I need to block out my noisy family so I can concentrate. Because I use them a lot, I've had a few pair and by now I really know what I want, need, and like in a good set of headphones. So here goes.

First of all, they are Monster N-Tune Headphones from the Candy COLOURS Collection, valued at $150.

Isn't the box pretty? It's so pretty, and the headphones are even purtier.

And they come in all these yummy candy colors.

They're not just pretty, they are super durable and well made. The box has a picture of the headphones being twisted, and a blurb stating that they are virtually indestructible. That very well may be true, but you won't see me testing that out. I'm going to trust that the team of middle school boys they must have had as quality control testers were thorough.

Personally, they caught my attention with the pretty, but next up on the importance scale came this.

The ControlTalk feature is one that I really appreciate in a good pair of headphones. I usually listen to my music on my phone, and with these headphones when a call comes in, my music stops and I can press the ControlTalk button to answer it. Plus, the microphone is built right in so my phone can stay in my armband. When I'm done with my call I press it again to hang it up. Not only that, but when listening to music I can adjust my volume with it, select play, pause, and go forward and back.

It's the neatest thing, really, and I would never buy a pair of headphones without this feature. It's that handy.

I also like that the cable jack can go in either earphone, so if you want the ControlTalk on your right, it can be on your right.

And I'm not going to irritate you and tell you how many shopping days there are 'til Christmas, but I'm thinking these would make an awesome gift for someone special. As you can see in the picture above, Zoe Bug thinks she should be getting these for Christmas.

Is it wrong that I want to keep them for myself though?

But then I really should give them to Peanut Head since he's my One True Love.

Only I'm having a hard time letting go now that I've bonded with them. After hours upon hours of wearing them in solitary bliss. Well, I wasn't alone, but it sounded like I was.

I hope I don't get pulled for my unprofessional, not technical review. But be honest, you know you want them now, right?

To win your very own pair of N-Tune headphones (valued at $150),  read all about the Monster headphones here and let me know in the comments of this post which color you prefer. The comments on this post will be aggregated with the comments on the posts from the other bloggers participating in this review, and 25 pairs will be given away. This giveaway will close on Nov 1.

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
BlogHer will pool entries from participating blogs and select a sweepstakes winner at random and will contact the winner with details about fulfilling the prize.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/2/13 – 11/1/13.
Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Liane's Famous Beef Stroganoff

My mother-in-law, the Barefoot Contessa, has been visiting us for the past week or so, and we've been enjoying some of her cooking. It's been really nice because this is our busiest time of the year, with the beginning of school and both girls in soccer, etc. Let's just say that I'm getting really tired of fast food.

Last week the Contessa made her famous Beef Stroganoff for us, and Zoe Bug especially was in Heaven. I'm glad I have at least one kid who likes mushrooms because not even Peanut Head will touch them.

This recipe is one that the family has been begging the Contessa to write down for ages. You know how some people are about their recipes. "Oh you know, a little of this, a little of that. I don't really know what all the measurements are. I just throw it all together. Anyone can do it. It's nothing really."

And then, Heaven forbid they take the recipe with them to the grave. It's a crime.

My great grandmother, Nano, made this unbelievable coffee cake when I was growing up, and when she died there was no recipe. It makes me sad to think about it. I remember Nano wearing her faded apron, dusted with flour, carefully forming the dough into a round loaf. I even remember the way the dough tasted when I snuck little pinches of dough off it, before it went into the oven, and I can still smell it. When the coffee cake came out of the oven, Nano would let the kids have a cup of coffee to dip it in. It was awesome.

Hey, it was the 70s. People didn't wear seat belts. Kids smoked candy cigarettes. We drank lots of Kool-Aid. We lived dangerously.

Well, we're not going to let the Contessa take this recipe to the other side with her, hopefully sometime in the very distant future. When the Contessa caved to our demands to make her Stroganoff this week, I insisted that she let Zoe Bug write down all the steps and ingredients so we could finally get it down on a recipe card.

And now here I am, spreading it all over the internet for her. You're welcome, Contessa.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Classroom Tour 2013

I'm just warning you right now that there are a LOT of pictures in this post. Glitter Man took pictures for me and he was very thorough.

First up is my teacher desk area. I moved my desk from the front of the room to the back of the room because it was taking up valuable space in front of the projector, where I need my students to focus their attention. Now I have student desks up in the area where my desk used to be.

This table is off to the side of my desk and it's been nice to have an extra surface to put my piles on. I try to tidy everything up at the end of the day before I go home, but some days it's a challenge.

Here's a pulled back view. I've since taken the outdated recycling sign off my purple trash can. It has my old room number on it from the year before last. Sometimes it takes me awhile to right things.

Peanut Head gave me that sign on my filing cabinet. It says "Sweat dries. Blood clots. Bones heal. SUCK IT UP PRINCESS. He's such a Jar Head.

I like it though, and it reminds me not to whine too much. And if my students read it and the shoe fits . . .

I'm still loving my contact papered filing cabinet, although every time I look at it is a reminder of the fact that perhaps I'm not as sane as I'd like to think I am.

Right behind my desk I have my Target cubbies and that's where I keep all my curriculum binders. I'm a big binder girl.

I'm enjoying having the use of this magnet board, although I haven't found a use for the chalkboard part of it yet. I could tidy it up a bit, but I won't have time until our first teacher work day in November.

I have a student note on the board that makes me laugh. One of my students wrote it to me at the end of last year, telling me how awesome I was, and then she ended it with "I think you're beautiful even though people have said you're not."

I know it sounds bad, but really I'm not offended by it because I don't think she meant it to be an insult couched in a compliment. She really thought she was giving me a compliment and so that makes it funny to me.

Besides, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

I super big, pink puffy heart love my fridge. My classroom is a mile away from the faculty lounge and the bathroom, and I need my ice.

Plus I think it's cute.

I bought this teeny tiny little computer desk at IKEA because I wanted to get my computer off my desk.  I think I've decided that I liked my computer on my desk. Oh well, there's no time to move furniture during the school year. Maybe next year.

Just another angle of my desk area, looking toward the front of the room where my desk used to be.

I totally stole this idea off Pinterest. It really does work, although the erasers can get jammed easily. Plus, if a student really wants an eraser, they just have to pull that top piece off. I don't really care though, because erasers are cheap. As long as they aren't destroying them and throwing them at each other.

I found my gumball machine at Toys R Us.

This is the view from my desk.

My agenda white board is in the back of the room and right next to my desk. I love having four big whiteboards because I use a lot of space when I write. It probably seems weird to have the agenda in the back of the room, but my projector is an interactive projector and it takes up most of one of my front of the room white boards.

By the end of the day my white boards are looking pretty messy. Thankfully my gallon of Expo Cleaner is still holding up well.

I am liking the grid set-up agenda, but I've found that I don't have to fill the whole week out in advance, but as I go instead. That takes a little of the pressure off of me to do it all Monday morning. Plus, plans change.

Dirty little secret time. I'm totally ratting myself out here because my school secretary might see this and waggle her finger at me, but I lifted those two-student desks under the cover of night.

Someone set them in the hallway with a Post-It note that said "Send to Storage."

I'm storage.

I promise if someone needs them back, I'll come clean, but I hope it doesn't come to that because I heart them.

I am fortunate enough to have two student aids this semester, and I've been keeping them hopping at this hexagon table group.

I super big, pink puffy heart love my student aids.

But not in a creepy way.

This is the view looking out into the room from this corner.

I'm not even going to say anything about my bulletin boards because I'm still mad at them for popping my staples.

 I may never recover.

The crates sitting on the counter are my mailboxes for students. When I have graded papers to be returned, my aids file them into the mailboxes. There is one for each class, and instead of having my students' names on the hanging files, I have their number. I number my students in each class from 1 to 30, and this way I don't have to relabel everything each year.

It works well.

The only walls that got painted lime green are right here, this little section by the door. I think if it were more than that, it might have been too shocking. Like I would know, right?

The red dot on the door is a dry erase circle, and when students leave the room for any reason they have to write their name and the time they left. That way I always know who is out of the room. In case of emergency or whatever.

This is just a pull-back view to the door.

And this is from the door, looking in.

This is just inside the door. This is the only picture where you can sort of see my Christopher Robin quote. I had a little problem after I painted my room because it wasn't the right blue and looked weird against my newly painted walls. In an effort to make it pop a little, I created a fake bulletin board backdrop with some butcher paper and bulletin board borders.

It still wasn't enough, so I topped that off by hot glueing some fluffy pink fringe around the edges of the canvas. I love the fringe.

This is a view of my Bright Links Projector which makes my white board an interactive white board. I love it too.

Heading over to my favorite, colorful part of the room.

These pictures were taken before school started, but they are full of composition books now and being used. So far they are working out well, and students don't waste a lot of time hunting for their notebooks. This was a big splurge for me, and one I'm not regretting.

I'm also liking that I put all my supplies in the front of the room so they are easily accessible and not forgotten.

This is the last picture. Are you on Sensory Overload yet?

Another thing that I'm happy I did was to line my cheapo Walmart shelves with contact paper. They look so much better now.

I'm sorry that this post is late, but I hope it was worth the wait. A big thank you goes out to Glitter Man for taking the pictures. They wouldn't have looked half as good if I had done them.

Have a great week!