Monday, June 30, 2014

Burlap Wreath & Winter Recipe Turned Summer

Hello there!
It's Monday again, which means that it's time to link up with 4th Grade Frolics for a very inspiring linky called Monday Made It.  If you haven't check out this linky yet, please do...I will warn you though, as soon as you do you will want to go out and start making things for your home and classroom.

I've got some fun news.... do you instagram???  Well Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard is now on instagram and I would love to find you, as well as have you follow me!  Just search: mrsbentinsblackboard, or click the link to the right of my blog to take you to my page! Comment below if you're on instagram with your username so I can find you too! I'm so excited for when the school year starts and I can take pictures of what we're doing and share them instantly!  Here's a sample of a few posts that I've started with! 

I've always wanted to make a burlap wreath for our front door.  I have all kinds of things to hang for the various holidays and seasons that come around, but there are just some times during the year where nothing really goes or matches.  So for those times when it's not decorated for a specific time, I thought making a wreath would be something perfect.  I've pinned a few on pinterest, and decided to go looking at the craft store for supplies.  I didn't necessarily have a theme in mind, I just wanted to use burlap.

I got all of my supplies at a great deal! I didn't realize how expensive burlap is.  At the craft store, a yard of burlap with metallic paint on it can but as expensive as $12.99 a yard.  I found this burlap 'ribbon' in the clearance section and got them for 50% off.  So in all I spent $6.99 on each spool that contains three yards. I thought it was a pretty good find, so that is where the silver polka dots became my theme.  I also got a wooden 'B' for our last name and some silver paint along with the metal frame to support the wreath.  

I used this tutorial from the internet to help me get started on making the wreath.  Due to the fact that there was a front and back to the burlap, I had to play around a little bit when it came to putting the burlap through the wire frame of the wreath.  Once I got started, it was a breeze to finish and I just kind of went with it making my own pattern up. 

To start I took the burlap through the base of the wreath to have an end point.  Then I gently pulled up between each section.  I just kept doing the over and over shaping the burlap as I went.

I used one and a half spools of burlap so approximately 4.5 yards.  When I was just over half done I went back and pushed the fabric closer together to make it more bunched up.  Then I finished the second half.

To end, I added a bow, which I tied through the base of the wreath so I can change it if I ever want to.  I did the same with the 'B' so I can take it off or put something else on it in the future.  

Jerk Chicken Brats with Lime Mayo on Pretzel Buns (With a surprise ingredient...!!!)

The inspiration to this recipe is a slow cooker recipe that my husband and I like to make in the winter to remind us of our honeymoon to Jamaica.  We ate the best jerk pork and chicken there! It's one of our most favorite recipes ever (we substituted chicken for pork) that we decided to change it up a bit for a summer recipe on the grill.  I also have to say there was a lot of improvisation with this recipe based on what we had in the house.  Sometimes those are the best meals....the ones that are by the seat of your pants!  I think the lime mayo dressing is really what my hubby likes...but you make your own judgement!

Ingredients: Mayo, onions, a lime, lime juice, garlic, and your choice of meat.  we used Chicken Bratwurst.  I don't think it matters what yo use, you can always season to get the jerk taste which we've done as well! This is just what we already had.

Lime Mayo:  1/2 cup mayo
                    1/4 cup onion (it calls for red onion, but I didn't have regular it is!)
                    1/4 teaspoon shredded lime peel
                    1 tablespoon lime juice
                    1 garlic clove, minced

Mix together and refrigerate for an hour before use.  Are you ready for the SECRET ingredient now????.....

MANGO! :)  I never would have thought that it would be so good on something like this, however it's amazing, especially with the lime mayo sauce.  

 We only had burger buns left, so again that's what we used. We sliced up the meat and topped everything (including the mango) on along with a little lettuce.  YUM!

I''m excited to see what everyone else has made this week.  Hope you have a great week ahead.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday Snapshots! 6.28.14

It's the weekend! :) I know that most of us have a hard time remembering what day of the week it is during the summer, but I still get excited for the weekends.  I think it's because we still have more planned on the weekends, especially with our friends and family that don't have the time off like we do. I quickly learned today that if I don't blog in the morning, I will NOT get to it...hence a late post today! But that's ok, it's a fun one!  One thing that I'm not sure that I've really shared with everyone is my love for photography.  I just love taking pictures and it's become quite the hobby for me. I've done some family pictures for people, gender reveal pictures, maternity photos, infant photography...... just about anything! I always have my camera with me, and when I found Miss Nelson's blog I was super excited! Not only did I feel like her blog title, Run! Miss Nelson's Got The Camera, was similar to how my kids at school feel I LOVED her pictures!  If you haven't checked them out yet, please do.  I'm linking up with her linky 'Saturday Snaphots' and I'm super excited to be able to do something with some pictures that I will take over the summer.  

So here we go.... I don't have a ton of pictures to share this week.  Ok I lie, I could share like a million of my little man, but I'm trying to take pictures of everything like I used to!  I hope you enjoy and had a great week!

Our flowers started popping up this week. I know, way late, but hey, when you live in Wisconsin and the seasons decide not to change on time that's what you get! SO with that being said, the next few weeks things will be much more pretty around here.  I'm super excited about all of the color.  Now, I can't take ANY credit. My husband has the green thumb in the house. I kill everything that needs to be watered... even bamboo!

Along with the warmer weather coming, this week it's been very warm and humid.  Our walk time was starting to get a little hard on the little man because it was just toooooo bright.  My mom found these awesome baby sunglasses that velcro behind the head.  Who knew???.... and he actually tolerated them!  

This week I got out of the house by myself... yes myself.  It was only for about an hour.  It was really nice to get out and have lunch with a friend...and a BEER! EEk.  Watch out people, momma is living on the edge!

Last but not least, one more of the Hudson man...I just love the ways he passes out especially after he eats. Most of the time he doesn't even get the chance to finish his bottle.... must be some good stuff.  :)

If only we could all just pass out that way wherever we were when we were tired! Have a great rest of the weekend!  :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday- Making Mistakes

Happy Thursday! I'm so excited to be linking up for my first 'Positive Thinking Thursday' with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings.  It's so nice to stop by her page on Thursday and see all of the inspiration flowing! Be sure to stop by her blog or link up and see what everyone has to share today.  

Making mistakes is not easy, however it's important to be willing to try new things and not always succeed the first time.  This is something that in my mind is also important to teach children.  It can get really difficult when there is so much pressure put on them today.  


I recently read an article and saw a segment on the Today Show.  It was about children thinking that their parents value their good grades over them being kind.  It made me think a lot about my son and what I will value in him as a person.  I of course want him to accomplish great things in life and school, but I also want him to grow up to be a kind, caring and compassionate person.  I want him to be able to speak his mind, and do what he loves when he grows up.  I also don't want him to be scared to make mistakes so that he will try new things.  Don't we all want this of our children that we teach in school and that we come home to each night?  I'd love your thoughts on the article or just thoughts on the pressures that kids face today in general. You can access it through this link here.  

So go out there this summer and try some new things, and be ok with making a mistake or two along the way!  Make those memories.... have FUN!   Enjoy the rest of your week!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tips to Tame Em'

Hi There, and happy Tuesday! I'm here for a quick post today in-between cleaning and the napping of a crabby two month old.  We got our shots yesterday so we've been a bit fussy since last night.  Just when a good routine get established...something changes.  It's a lot like school too, isn't it? Just when you think they have something down you have to go back and establish a routine or procedure all over again.  With that being said I'm linking up this evening with Kelli from 'Tales of a Teacher' for her summer weekly linky called 'Tips to Tame Em'  I was really excited to start thinking about the first several weeks of school and reflect back on how to get students into the routine and procedure of the classroom.  

Here's the weekly schedule for the next several weeks if you are interested in linking up! I'm looking forward to seeing what advice everyone has. I know each new year brings a whole new group of students and challenges when it comes to routine and procedure.  Some groups are just more conscious about certain things than others and what was a big 'issue' this year may not be next year.  

This week's question is: 

This big thing here is modeling and consistency for me.  Often times I feel like I'm so used to how things are at the end of the year in third grade..... they certainly are different than the beginning of the year.  They grow so much, but it's so easy to forget the little things that they need to be reminded of or taught.  For me remembering that I need to model for them and show them what is expected sometimes is my biggest challenge.  I get so excited about something and am two steps in when I really should be at the beginning stages of something before expecting them to just know.  I show them what I need them to know just by doing it over and over and over again.  It's so important to model everything for them!!!  Even how to check in for their lunch choice in the morning.  It may seem simple, but after summer vacation, and not having the same teacher as the year before, it's different for them.  It may be the same you've always done, but for them it's new!  I also think that being consistent with the things that you're expecting is important. You can't establish a routine one day and then change it everyday the following week.  I do understand that sometimes things need to be changed up, but giving them time to be established as a routine in important.  

Just a few of the big things that I have to model at the beginning of the year are:
  1. Daily Check- In Procedure
  2. Lining Up
  3. Morning Work
  4. Transitions to and from centers and/or carpet
  5. Hallway expectations
  6. Names on Papers
  7. Turning in Work
  8. What do do when you need teacher assistance
  9. I'm done...Now what Can I do???  (We all have those students!)

For me the most important things the first week are procedural..... I could literally name a million of them but I thought that I would just share the most important ones today. 

1- Student Numbers: I have to admit that at first I was totally against assigning numbers to students.  I was more worried about parents thinking that I was referring to their child as a number and not a person...however I got over that quickly when I realized how much of a time saver it is and also a great way to keep things organized.  I assign a number to each student.  They can use it for a number of things (no pun intended....)  First they put it next to their name when they write their name on their papers.  I teach them to always put their name and number on everything.  We practice that a lot during the first weeks of school. This helps me to put their papers in number order to see who I'm missing or then figure out a no name paper too. It's also a good list to have in case of an emergency.  They have to get in number order for a line when we get outside after a fire-drill, or I call off the numbers in order for them to say that they are in fact there. Then I know who is missing.  

2- Chants- I think it's important to have some classroom chants so we all know when we need to be focused on the same thing. I run a lot of my day in small groups and centers, so there is usually always a hum of noise going on.  When I need their attention I expect it to be full.  So there are a few chants that I use.  We practice them so much the first few weeks of school.  

This first chant is my go to when I have students working in small groups or centers and I need their full attention. It also works if we're in another classroom working or in a larger group setting. They all know when then hear it that it's 'Our Class Chant' and know that they need to stop what they're doing to listen. 

Teacher: 123    Students: Eyes on Me
Teacher: 456    Students: Lips are Zipped

The second chant I use when students line up to go in the hallways or to come in or out from recess. I use this chant. When they hear it they know that I'm expecting them to be hallway ready.  They are in a line that is short, silent and ready to move. 

Teacher:  Third Graders Line Up            Students: Line UP

Those are just a few that I do at the way beginning that travel with us on our whole year journey!  I hope you have some ideas to share as well, or these can help you in some way! Have a great night!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Made It- Week 4

Happy Summer everyone!!!  I am loving the whole 'What day of the week is it??' question that keeps getting asked in my house.  I feel like we have so much going on this week, but it wasn't anything overly exciting... Just the  normal stuff that comes along with summer.  Catching up on house projects, cleaning projects of storage areas and closets and playing with the babe.  He's two months old now!! I can't even believe it.  He's growing so much and I am so happy that I'm home for the summer to watch him grow.  With that being said, I'm trying to also get in some 'me time' this summer and do what I love to do....craft!!!!!

I'm happy to be linking up with 4th Grade Frolics 'Monday Made It' linky!  It's week 4 and I haven't posted yet, but I do have a few things to share that I've put together since summer has started.  It's so fun to see what people have made for their homes and their classrooms!!!  Be sure to check out what others have shared!

So I have this jar or buttons... it sits in my bedroom.  I've always loved it, and just never done anything with it.  I've collected those extra buttons that come with clothes for as long as I can remember.  I used to go through my mom's sewing things, and her buttons always caught my eye. So that's why I've collected them for so long I think.  I decided to do a little something for the house with them.  All I used was a small piece of canvas, scrapbook paper, and a printed letter from the computer that I used as a template. (I forgot to take pictures of the process..... of just about everything I made this time....sorry!!!  I'm sure you'll get the picture. Next time I'll have to remember! I was just too excited I think.

First I decoupaged the scrapbook paper to the piece of canvas to serve as a background.  Next I traced the letter 'B' that I printed off of the computer onto the dried canvas.  This way I could stay pretty close to the lines when putting the buttons on.  Obviously it didn't cover perfectly, but tracing it lightly in pencil helped to not see that I used anything as a template. Lastly using clear fabric tac glue.  I'm sure you could use other glues, but I thought it would be the most sturdy to use with the buttons so they didn't fall off, and it would then dry clear.  When it was done I did another layer of decoupage over the top of the buttons to ensure that they would stay. It's now hanging on my wall!


 The second made it, is probably my new favorite recipe....and perfect for summer.  I'm not typically the chef in the house, but I'm the one that usually tries new recipes that we're not sure of and then we LOVE them!  This is a Bobby Flay recipe found from the food network.  It's called Crostini with Mascarpone, Grilled scallion, tomato and balsamic glaze.  

Photo from Food Network.Com

My version!!!

It was delicious.  Since I didn't make up the recipe, please click the link above to have it for yourself.  I ended up following it exactly. The only thing I didn't do was add pepper.  I didn't feel like it was needed!

That's all for now.... here's the latest of my little one, and our puppy!!! I just couldn't resist! Hope you all have a great day!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Final Peek at My Week 6.9.14

Well for starters, I certainly didn't expect to be linking up any more this year because I was supposed to be off on maternity leave until the beginning of next year.  As many of you know you can plan plan plan, and sometimes things just don't go as planned.  My son came a little early, all is great, and I'm super glad he is here and is already 7 weeks old---- man time flies!!! With that being said, I got the opportunity to go back to school for the last full week as my sub was unable to finish out the school year.  At first I didn't think that I would consider that at all, however it was my choice to finish out the year and I'm looking forward to it.  My husband also teaches, and he is already on break, so that means he gets to be the stay at home dad for the week... and I get to go end the year with my kiddos!  Ahhhhhh closure on all accounts!  A type "A" persons dream!  I have already informed him that I expect Hudson to do some serious reading while I'm gone!  We try to read everyday to him.  It's great time together, even the dog gets involved!

Our favorite book right now is "Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom!!"

I'm kind of all over the place in terms of what we've got going on this week... mostly because there are many things happening as a whole school, as a grade level, and things that I want to do in my own room.  I thought I would link up with Jennifer, from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings, for her weekly linky 'A Peek at My Week' to share some of the things we will do for our final week of school. Be sure to check out her post to get some great ideas if you're still in school!

Some special things for my kids this week will be a mixture of reflecting on the year that we have had together, and also enjoying time together on various activities.  Our school will have a talent show this week, a field day complete with all day activities to join in on, and a special awards day to honor all students for the successes over the past year.  In the middle of those fun activities my students will finish up an important writing book this week... their memory books.  Check out this old Workshop Wednesday Post all about writing to see a description of our memory books in use (you'll have to scroll down to the bottom of the post for the memory books).  It's a great writing tool to use all year with students, and also to help keep track of what we've been up to.  I love looking through the at the end of the year, as it symbolizes so  much growth and change.  It's also a bonus that they all LOVE writing in them--- so that helps a lot when it comes to my struggling writers. 

Since I haven't been at school to get an updated entry, here is an older one from Thanksgiving that I shared before.  Most of the entries have photographs to go along with them. 

My favorite thing to do on the last day of school is put my student's desks in a circle and pass around memory books.  I set a timer for 90 seconds and we pass the memory books around.  In that time they have to write something nice to their classmate and sign their name.  They can pick something they like about them or something positive that they have noticed about this student over the school year.  We talk about what is appropriate to write, and "You are cool/awesome/nice" is not what we're going for.  If they want to say someone is 'nice' then they have to give an example.  When we're finished the last pages of their memory books are full of great things said by everyone in their class.  They love it, and from time to time I actually get tears, because they are moved by something nice that someone has said about them.  

One last thing that we're trying out this year is a game day.  I don't know about you, but more and more kids just don't know how to play board games.  So with that being said I do take time through the school year to teach kids how to play them.  We usually stick to educational ones, or ones that have them secretly doing math without knowing, but during indoor recess time I pull anything off of my shelf and teach away.  By the end of the year a few of our favorites end up being boggle, yhatzee, checkers guess who, and candy land.  I was just as shocked that most of those I just listed were new to the kids in my class.  Thursday afternoon this week is 'GAME DAY!!!!' 

Image from

Students will bring in their favorite games.  They can be ones we already know or new ones.  The only rule is that they have to be able to teach others how to play.  I'm going to bring in a few of my own too, in case someone forgets or doesn't have one to bring in.  That way we can all spend some time playing games together.  I'm looking forward to what they bring in!

I'm looking forward to the end of the year, and also wanting to see what others have planned for the last days as well!  Happy Summer!!!  5 days to go! :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Currently June!! :) YAY

June June June June... can you believe it?  I am sad to say that this is my first post in one month...YIKES!!! As many of you know 6 weeks ago, my husband and I welcomed our first child into the world.  Having Hudson has been amazing, however there hasn't been much time for anything other than what we call the circle of life currently: eat, sleep, change a diaper, repeat.....  We're loving life right now though!! 

I will do better I promise this month to do some posting as we are all winding down the school year.  I am still reading all of your posts, I just haven't had time to do my own or comment.  It's been great to see what everyone has been up to with the end of the school year coming and also to get some great ideas to keep the kiddos going all the way until the end.  I won't be back at school until the Fall, but rest assured, I will be going back and ready to share and communicate just as I did this year.  With it being June, I'm thrilled to be linking up with Farley for her monthly linky 'Currently!'  I love reading these to see what everyone is up to.  Be sure to stop by her page and check out what it's all about!

1- Listening:  I've had the TV on pretty much 24 hours a day for the last 6 weeks.  I'm not really watching something all of the time, but it's nice when I'm home to just have something on in the background.  It does get a little lonely being home with a newborn all day, so I've found some interesting things to pass the time.  I've recently found the DIY network.  I am in love! I'm listening to the Rehab Addict right now.  Have any of you ever seen that show????  If not, I recommend it!

2- Loving:  We have had some beautiful weather in Wisconsin the past couple of weeks.  Yes the humidity is in full force today, but I'm not complaining.  I'm loving that it feels warm... FINALLY!  This winter just was not going away, and I am happy to say that it is GONE!

3-Thinking:  My husband has one last week of school until he is home with Hudson and I!!! YAY! I'm so excited that he has summer off with me, and that we will have this time to bond with our son.  He's an amazing dad, but I know it's been hard on him to leave us each morning.  We are excited that soon he will be home with us. 

4-Wanting:  I love to do projects and crafts and it's been a really long time since I've started a project of some sorts for the house or for someone else. I'm really wanting to get something started.  Any ideas???

5-Needing: I know that I don't have to tell any of you parents out there that sleep with a baby is pretty inconsistent and sometimes non-existent. I'm longing for a full night of sleep........ Everyone keeps telling me "It will get better" or "This is only temporary..."  Honestly those are the last things I want to hear... I just want someone to say, "I totally know how you feel.... I've been there!" 

6-Summer Bucket List:
    A- Organize: I have a storage closet in the basement and my front hall closet that was on my list to organize when I went on maternity leave that never happened because Hudson came early.  I really want to get them organized and put back together before school starts again.
   B-Donate: I want to go through things in both closets from the above statement and get rid of the old... and donate whatever we aren't using. 
  C-Routine: I'm really anxious to start getting into a routine this summer with my husband and the baby so we know how life will somewhat be as we move forward.  I know it won't be perfectly set, but I'm really wanting to have some consistency in life as a new family of 3. 

I wish you all the very best as the school year ends.  I'll be back at it soon.... :)  Happy June!