Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday... Halloween Version


It's time for another Five for Friday linky party!  I'm linking up with Kacey from  Doodlebugs Teaching to share five things from my week...Halloween version!
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Halloween is not really a big holiday for me.  I don't really get into it very much.  Before moving to the Bahamas my favorite part about Halloween was a trip to the pumpkin farm.  I LOVED our pumpkin farm.  We went last year and really tried to enjoy it and soak it all in since there aren't any pumpkin farms in the Bahamas.  :)  So without a pumpkin farm to mark the holiday what was our family to do?  We went to a bring your own pumpkin carving/decorating event with all our fellow American friends here.  It was a blast!  It was pool side... if that doesn't say Bahamas Halloween, not sure what does.  All our friends were there.  Suri and her dad got busy planning and carving.  Levi, he chased his friends around and just had a good time.  Here's a picture.

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Tuesday was our preschool story hour.  We threw a little Halloween party for the littles.  They wore their costumes,  we sang Halloween/pumpkin songs, and we read Pumpkin Head by Wendell Minor.    That was only the beginning.  Then we had different stations for them to go to as they chose.  They could decorate pumpkin cookies with orange frosting, make an art project, eat some treats, and make pumpkin faces on orange felt pumpkins with black felt shapes.  Levi chose to be Spiderman for the party even though he is going to be a pirate for trick-or-treating, or a fire fighter, or a ninja, or a doctor.  He changes his mind every hour I think! 

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For the art projects we put out examples of different Halloween foot print or hand print projects.  Levi chose the ghost ones.  He giggled when I painted his feet.  He loved it!  

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This week was BUNCO night.  It's a chance for me to get out of the house and hang out with my girl friends.  We had such a blast!  I drank too much wine (I think it was the large red plastic cups :) ) and even won the prize for the most Buncos.  I made this recipe I found on Pinterest and it was AMAZING!!!  Easy pull-apart pizza bread.  Healthy it's not but for those times when you need something not so healthy this is great.  You have to make it!  So YUMMY!
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We are headed to Blue Lagoon tomorrow.  They are having a Halloween fun day for the kids.  Spider egg hunt, costume contest, etc...  The food is great and you only have to bring your suits, towels, and sunscreen.  My hubs has the weekend off.  He only gets a weekend off every 6 weeks so we try and do something fun when he has his long weekends off.  Here's a favorite memory I leave you with this Halloween Friday.  May you await the arrival of the great pumpkin with your best friends!  Happy Halloween!!!
The Peanuts Gang awaiting the arrival of the Great Pumpkin in the world's most sincere pumpkin patch. :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday

Good Rainy Morning!
Yes, it rains.  Even in the Bahamas.  If you've been watching the national weather you may have noticed that Florida is getting a bunch of rain.  We are due east of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale so it has made its way here too.  Sadly, "paradise" isn't all sunshine and rainbows.  :)

I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for another Five for Friday linky party.  Here's what we've been up to this week.

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Preschool story hour this week was all about spiders.  Sadly I don't have a picture of the spiders we made since my 3 year old son has destroyed not only his own spider, but my spider I made as an example.  We did something very simple though.  I traced large circles on black construction paper with a white crayon.  (I used a plate for a pattern)  Then I cut out black construction paper strips.  We had the kids that were able cut their own circles out.  My son did some of the cutting and I did some.  I gave each child 8 strips of black construction paper.  The adults folded them accordion style.  We let the kids glue the legs on.  This is a real test of what kind of parent you are.  Do you let your child glue the legs wherever?  Or do you help/suggest placement for the spider legs.  I meant to let Levi place the legs all on his own but realized I was "helping" after the first two legs.  I caught myself and let him do the rest.  :)  For snack my talented friend Paula made these cream cheese, olive, and cracker spider snacks.  We found this idea on pinterest.  Paula has the talent to make them.  :)
Olive spiders on cream cheese and cracker. Healthy yet spooky.
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I signed up to be on the PTA at my daughter's school this year.  It is a new school and we are just getting going.  Wednesday was our second meeting.  The meeting was 3 hours!!!  It was still going when I left.  Needless to say, we have some communication wrinkles to work out but we planned some really fun events for the school community.  Windsor only has approximately 200 students so it's possible to meet most of the parents and get to know each other.  I ended up volunteering to make the flier for the bake sale next Friday.  I quick whipped it up using all my fabulous clip art, borders, and papers that I use to create my TpT products.  Here's what I made for our PTA board...

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My daughter received her first term report card.  Oh my goodness!  What a difference from last year.  I had tears of joy in my eyes as I was reading her report card.  We are so fortunate to have a fabulous teacher this year.  My daughter absolutely adores her and she really is a great teacher.  Just goes to show that what we value as teachers (building relationships, caring about our students, helping them become good citizens) makes a huge impact in the lives and learning of our students.  As a reward we headed out for pizza and a family bowling night last night to celebrate.  My kids love using the ramps to roll their balls down.  We got the red dinosaur this time.
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I might have mentioned before how expensive groceries are here.  I'm trying to make more items from scratch in an effort to keep our food budget under control.  Milk is our biggest expense.  I pay $10 for a gallon of my son's milk and $8 each for my daughter's and my milk.  My son drinks through 2 gallons of milk in a week.  So our milk budget alone is nearly $40 a week.  Next biggest item is bread.  My son Levi loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Some days he eats 2 of them.  We go through a lot of bread.  Bread is $4.49 a loaf for whole wheat bread.  I have a bread machine.  I've been making bread on and off.  Last week I decided I was really going to try and make all our bread in our bread machine.  My first two loaves turned out as what I call "brick of bread".  Yuck!  Didn't rise very well.  Kids wouldn't touch it.  So I went back to basics.  I did a simple loaf of white bread.  Sucess!  It turned out beautiful!  My kids love it too.  White bread is a treat for them.  Now I am going to work on perfecting a whole wheat bread.  But I feel better having produced one successful loaf.

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We went and got mail this week.  In the mail was an Oriental Trading catalog.  Yay!  I heart the Oriental Trading catalog!  As I was perusing through I found this fabulous craft I am going to order.  Nativity Sticker Scenes!  When my son turned 2 we did a construction theme birthday party.  We ordered the construction sticker scenes for the party and they were a huge success.  We still have a couple left and my son loves doing them because you can reposition the stickers.  Best part... they really aren't very messy.  Not that I have anything against messy crafts.  I actually have a very high tolerance for mess.  But it's nice to have fun projects that don't create a huge disaster.  My 3 year old has been nicknamed the wrecking ball lately.  So yeah, mess-free is sometimes appreciated.  :)

Well that's my week in a nutshell.  We are having a lazy rainy day today.  The rain is expected to move out by later tomorrow.  So then it will be back to sunshine and rainbows.  Ha ha!  :)

Happy Friday!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Liebster Award

Happy Sunday Morning!
 Who doesn't love Sunday mornings?  As I was checking in with some of my favorite blogging buddies I discovered that my friend Sara from Sara J Creations was nominated for a Liebster Award.  What is the Liebster Award?  It's an award for new bloggers who are trying to grow their readership.  I am very excited for Sara!  Sara has nominated me!  Thanks Sara! 

As part of being nominated I have to answer the following 11 questions and then nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers.

1.  Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I started blogging this summer (August 2014) after attending the TpT conference as a way to help grow my TpT store.  I had a personal blog that I was using to keep family and friends up to date about our life since moving to the Bahamas in November of 2013.  I decided that I didn't want to try and maintain two blogs so I spent a lot of time thinking of a blog title that would allow me to share what was happening in our family as well as what I was doing in the world of teaching.  That's how Liveloveserveteach was born!

2.  What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Love~ My blog is about all things/people that I love.  I love life.  I love my family.  I love God and serving God.  I love teaching. 

3.  Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before?  
I feel like I'm still pretty new at blogging and am constantly learning.  Since I'm not currently in the classroom I feel like I lack pictures.  I taught first and second grade for 15 years and could've had an amazing repertoire of pictures to use for blogging.  Now I just have to be more creative.

4.  What is your favorite past time other than blogging?   
Creating resources for my TpT store and my kiddos.  I have a 3 year old and a 7 year old.  I'm always coming up with fun ways for my 3 year old to learn his letters and numbers.  I enjoy making products for my 7 year old to supplement and support what she's learning in school.  I love to read.  I have a kindle so I am able to download and buy books as fast as I can read through them.  Good thing since there isn't a public library here in Nassau.  I also love swimming almost every day (see the picture of our amazing pool here) and going to the beach with my family (video here).

5.  How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
Every week is different.  It really depends on our family schedule.  Over the summer my husband works a ton of over time so there wasn't a lot of time for me to commit to my blog.  Some weeks I post 3-4 times per week.  Other weeks I'm lucky to post once.  My goal is 3-4 posts per week.

6.  What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
Anything that has to do with parenting and teaching.  Now that I'm a stay at home momma I enjoy connecting with other mommas.  I still love reading teacher blogs even though I'm not currently in the classroom.  It helps me stay current with what's happening in education and I enjoy seeing all the amazing and creative ideas! 

7.  Where does your blog inspiration come from?
My family and friends.  We are always busy doing something.  Life is never dull with a 3 and 7 year old around.  My teacher friends help keep me inspired with our face time chats and texts back and forth about what's happening in their classrooms and it helps keep my brain focused on all the things I did in the classroom for 15 years.

8.  Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
The one I did for the tricks and treats for teachers blog hop.  I shared some strategies for helping those wiggle worms in the classroom that were really effective for me in my 15 years of teaching along with a freebie to go with it.  It was really well received and I got a lot of positive comments and feedback on it. 

9.  Is there any post you've been planning to do but have been postponing it for awhile now?
YES!  I've started writing it but every time I start working on it the kids need something, the power goes out, etc...  It's called "After the first 6 weeks of school...a time for reflecting and making changes".  Hoping to get it done this week!  :)

10.  What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
Connecting with others.  I've enjoyed connecting with other former teachers turned stay at home mommas as well as other teachers.  It's amazing how you can find people you have so much in common with and these amazing friendships are born!

11.  Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?
I really want to make the fall sensory bin for my son.  I think he would love sensory bins and your fall one is perfect.  I LOVE the different colors of rice and the targeted matching activities.  I also just love reading your blog.  We have so much in common it seems like I relate to so much that is happening in your life.

Now it's time for the nominations!
2 Literacy Teachers: Lindsey Sanchez and Kristin Denning
Ms. Gatt's Class: Angela Gatt
Anchored in Learning: Ashley Arthur
Mrs. Groom's Room: Shana Groom
Kinderdoodlez: Kristen Ryan
Breninroom10: Brenda
Henle House Chronicles: Nicole Henle
Teach with Holly Rachel: Holly Rachel
Living the First Grade Dream: Katie

I hope the nomination brings you more followers and readers.  I enjoy reading your blogs and connecting with you!

Now that you've been nominated here are the official "rules" for accepting:
1. In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out".
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers each.  Provide them with 11 questions or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link back to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so s/he can learn more about you as well.  (You can just put your post link in the comments below).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five for Friday: Fall Break

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up this fabulous Friday for another Five for Friday linky party hosted by Doodlebugs Teaching.

This week was Suri's Fall break, or midterm break.  So I had to be prepared to beat those break boredom blues.  :)
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We started off with making slime.  I hunted everywhere on the island to find borax or liquid starch and finally found borax so we could make slime.  Suri had been begging me for over a week to make it.  The fun really began when her 3 year old little brother got it all over the couch!  Well, not really, but I'm still figuring out how I'm going to get it out.

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Monday we went and spent the day with friends at their hotel.  They are moving back to the states in two days and our kids are friends.  Another mom and her kids (also good friends of ours) and me and my kiddos packed our pool and beach stuff into my truck and off we went.  It was nice hanging out with good friends at the beach and pool.  They are staying at the Hilton so it's a very nice beach and pool.

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Tuesday was preschool story hour.  A couple other moms and I lead a preschool story hour for the little kids who stay at home every Tuesday in our neighborhood's clubhouse.  We just finished learning about the letters in the alphabet.  Now we are doing some fun Halloween theme projects.  Last week we did hand print bats and my very talented friend made bat cupcakes for snack. 

This week we made skeletons and the same talented friend made "bones" for snack.  This skeleton was made by my daughter Suri who is 7.  She enjoys coming to story hour over the summer and during breaks from school.

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I've been working hard on a fun Fall-themed product I've named Candy Corn Craze.  
It's full of ELA, Reading, and Math activities for kiddos in grades K-2.  It should be posted this weekend in my store.  Suri saw me working on it and really wanted to try some of the activities.  She picked Candy Corn Double Trouble.  Luckily the doubles were no trouble for her!

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My hubby was off Tuesday and Wednesday.  He tweaked his back on Tuesday, went to the doctor on Wednesday, and had to take Thursday off to give his back one more day to heal so he could return to work.  I convinced him that the beach would be a great place to relax and let his back heal.  He agreed.  So while we weren't able to do the Blue Lagoon trip we really wanted to do, we always love heading over to Love Beach.  There were awesome waves thanks to Hurricane Gonzalo.  The kids had a blast.  Momma and Daddy too.  :)

Well that's my week.  It's been a great one.  I love seeing everyone's pictures of the Fall colors back home and trips to the pumpkin farm.  While we do miss those things from home, we know we are pretty fortunate to be able to spend some time here as a family.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Five for Friday (Well, really Saturday)


Good Morning! 
      "You alright?"  That's how the Bahamians greet each other.  It took me awhile to figure out that it's their "Hello, how are you?" greeting.  So everyone, happy Friday!  Hopefully everyone is alright!
I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for a Friday check-in with everyone and Five for Friday linky party.  That is, if my internet will cooperate.  Not currently cooperating... (Side note, no internet all yesterday... hence the Saturday link-up)

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Last Saturday I organized a ladies night out.  A bunch of us grabbed dinner together and then went and saw Gone Girl.  I'm not going to go into detail and spoil anything in case you haven't read the book or seen the movie and are planning to.  Let me just say, the movie was EXCELLENT!  Stayed very true to the book.  Ben Affleck was awesome as Nick.  My friends who hadn't read the book were in shock afterwards.  Totally not what they were expecting.  It was fun!  We are already talking about what book we're going to read next and then see the movie... 

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My hubby left for DC Sunday afternoon and was gone through Tuesday afternoon.  He has missed being able to go to the Seahawks games on Sundays back home.  We are season ticket holders.  The Seahawks were in DC playing the Washington Redskins for Monday Night Football so he found a cheap airline ticket, bought a game ticket, and headed up to see his Seahawks play.  We are a big football household.  I grew up in Wisconsin so I am a huge Wisconsin Badgers fan (my alma mater) and Green Bay Packers fan.  While attending college I attended every Badgers football home game for the 5 years I was there.  I still haven't been to a Packers game at Lambeau Field, but it's on my bucket list.  I do like the Seahawks too.  Russel Wilson, their QB, was a WISCONSIN BADGER!  Gotta watch my boy!  :)  While the hubby was gone, I got sick.  UGH!  Luckily for only a day but WOW!  Never easy when momma goes down for the count...  good news is we all survived.  :)

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My son Levi goes through these phases where he wakes up between 5 and 5:30 in the morning.  WAY too early!  Luckily it only lasts a few days at a time.  I just have to remind myself of this when it happens.  We are currently going through an early rising phase.  When he does this he usually has to nap.  He can't make it from 5 am til 7pm at night without a nap.  I snapped this photo of him passed out in his car seat on Wednesday when we went to go get mail.  Bad news about the nap... it means he was awake until 9:30 that night.  Oh well!

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Levi and I got busy baking this week.  He loves to help me in the kitchen.  We made m&m cookies (his request) and pumpkin oat bars (my request).  I didn't really use a recipe for the pumpkin oat bars.  I just used some leftover pumpkin puree, oats, applesauce, crushed pretzels, raisins, chocolate chips, applesauce, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice.  Mixed it up til it came together, put it in a 9x9 pan lined with parchment paper, and baked it for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.  They turned out perfect.  Such an easy grab and go breakfast or snack.  We also made pumpkin fluff dip.  This is sooooo delicious.  My husband and I ate through a whole bag of apple slices dipping them in pumpkin fluff last night.  We generally eat very healthy in our household.  I am trying to make sure that a majority of the foods we eat are not processed but are "real foods".  Pumpkin fluff is a recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs:  I highly recommend it.   

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Suri has her Fall break next week.  We are looking forward to spending some family time at the beach.  We are hoping to do a day trip to Blue Lagoon as well.  It's a fun beach day experience with inflatables in the water for the kids (and adults) to play on.  Ever see Wipeout on tv?  A smaller version of that.  They even feed you so all you really need to bring is swimsuits, towels, and sunscreen.  My kiddos are usually so exhausted that they fall asleep on our laps on the boat ride home.  I'll post our pictures next week.  :)

Happy Friday everyone!  Enjoy your weekend!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday and a Blog Hop!

Happy Friday Everyone!
Wow, has this week flown by.  Lots to share in my Five for Friday this week.  Let's get started!
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Last weekend we escaped for a little off-island time to Orlando.  Flights were the cheapest we've seen them and we couldn't resist.  We were in Orlando back in May but spent most of the time doing crazy shopping for our 6 month pallet, basically re-stocking our supplies that we needed.  This time we promised the kids less shopping and more fun.  So where does one go for more fun in Orlando?  Yup, DISNEY WORLD!  We only did 2 days and it flew by so quickly!  We did one day at Magic Kingdom and one in Epcot.  Because it was such a whirlwind trip we hardly took any pictures.  We did get this one though of Levi passed out on his daddy's lap after a day at Magic Kingdom.
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So a "funny" story about our first day at Disney.  We entered Magic Kingdom and decided to just go around in a circle and see what rides we could ride.  We were in Disney Land last summer so the layout is very similar.  We know our kids can't do a line longer than 30 minutes.  The first ride we came upon was a Lilo and Stitch ride.  Apparently I didn't read a warning that this was a scary ride.  My kids were screaming and crying, trying to get out of their seats, and wanted out of the ride ASAP.  Poor things!  What a way to start our Disney day!  So Suri recovered pretty quickly after the ride was over and went and rode Space Mountain with her dad.  Levi did not.  He refused to go on any more rides.  After lunch, the crowds were getting too big and it was getting hot so we decided to head out and do our costco shopping and come back later.  Well luckily by the time we came back he was over the morning experience and was ready to ride some rides again.  That evening we were able to ride lots of rides and everyone had a great time.  We all left thoroughly happy!

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Day 2 of Disney was Epcot.  We had soooo much fun!  We did Test Track right away in the morning.  Levi is now 40 inches tall so he can ride a lot more rides than he could last summer.  We all LOVED it!  My kids love fast car rides so this was right up their alley.  I have been to Disney World before and the last time I was there was when Test Track had just opened.  I rode it then but it was a lot of fun to ride it with my kids and see the smiles on their faces as our car is whipping around the track.  We were disappointed that the Honey I Shrunk the Kids ride is gone.  Suri was looking forward to that one but there was lots of fun to be had.  The Food and Wine Festival was also happening at Epcot so we partook in some yummy food and tried Leinenkugel's seasonal ale....YUM!  I'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and we love our Leinenkugels!

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I'm participating in a blog hop this weekend that starts TODAY!  As in RIGHT NOW people!  There are lots of great tricks and treats for teachers.  I have a super awesome freebie as the treat that is only for the duration of the blog hop.  Afterwards it will be for sale in my TpT store.  Hop on over and grab some great tricks and treats from some fabulous teachers!
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In honor of this fabulous blog hop I have put my entire TpT store on sale!  Every product is 20% off this weekend.  I hope you'll stop by and download some freebies and purchase some resources for your kiddos!  Click on the TpT store header at the top of the page to head there right now!

I'm sure you all are ready for the weekend.  I know I am!  For those of you out there enjoying some Fall weather, enjoy some for me.  It's still 92 degrees here!  I guess October is still a hot month here.  Looking forward to November when temps cool down a bit.  Happy Friday Everyone!