Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The best compliment

 One of my student's moms emailed me after the first week of school with this story about her daughter.

Chloe is wiped out today. She loved school this past week and she has no anxiety at all about it which is so nice.  After the first day of school, she came home and dressed like you, the sweater with the skinny belt on the outside of your sweater, and then she closed her door and Micah and I listened outside her door and she was playing teacher.  So cute and she has always really liked your style of teaching.  Jarett said, wish she could teach Chloe every year:)

This made me realize all over again how much I can truly impact my students simply by the way I make them feel (oh and the way I dress). I don't plan to take that lightly.

                                                                                          Source: via Allison on Pinterest

Name that movie...

Monday, August 27, 2012

A corn husking tip that will change your life

For a cookout this past weekend I decided to make Pioneer Woman's Grilled Corn Guacamole. While I was making it I learned a life changing tip...and it has to do with corn. If you've ever husked corn you know how annoying those little strings are right? Well I found a way to never have to peel another corn string away.ever. Are you intrigued?
So here's how it's done. Take the corn and leave it in the husk, toss it in the microwave for 4 minutes. Use an oven mitt to take the corn out of the microwave and put the corn on a chopping board. Cut off the husk. Make sure to cut enough of the husk away or it just won't work. Use the hairs at the other end and shake. The corn should slide right out string free! I did it and it worked. Then I did it again, and then again one more time to show my husband. Am I easily amused or is this really a cool trick?
If you can do this in the microwave I see no reason why this can't also be done on the grill...just leave the corn in the husk, throw on the grill, cut the husk and shake. Simple as that.

Oh and the turned out freaking amazing, but what Pioneer Woman recipe doesn't? I have yet to find one and I have now cooked over 30 of her recipes, yep I counted.
Click here for the recipe!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Retro Owl

Do your lips turn purple after drinking red wine?? (See results of red wine to mine above)
My friend Bekah loves owls so when her birthday rolled around I had the perfect idea. I took her to Cheers to Art to celebrate with our friend Ellie. Cheers to Art turned out to be a perfect place to celebrate for several reasons...1. Wine, 2. Fun music you can sing along to 3. A birthday crown
4. You go home feeling like a real artist and 5. You all leave with a party favor (your painting!)
This visit marked my 5th painting I've done at Cheers to Art and I have never left disappointed. See some of my other paintings here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Science Teaching Husband, We did it! We made it through our first week of school.  I'm so glad we can completely get what the other one of us is going through. It's a huge blessing!
Dear Doughnuts,
I hear that you are the new cupcake. I'm excited to try making all kinds of you with our new doughnut recipe book! Maybe you will become a Saturday morning tradition in the Renner house.
Dear Doughnut pan, You are an amazing invention. I'm so glad I found you!
Dear Kitties, You are the cutest...quirks and all. I miss not being home with you, but my kids love hearing about you. Yes I talk about you at school and I even have a calendar with pictures of you on the wall.
Dear Singing Servers, I have heard a lot about you and will be visiting you at Vito's Cafe tonight. I hope live up to all the hype. Dear Husband, Dinner and evening walks at Sharon Woods will keep us sane. Let's make that a priority okay?
Love, Allison
Happy weekend!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to school basics

Dress: Target, Cardigan: Gap, Belt: gifted, Utility Tote Bag: Fossil (similar one found here)
School started on Monday and I have to say this year is off to a wonderful start. I knew this year was going to be a special year because I am teaching a class of students that I have taught before. When I first start teaching at my school I taught these kids in Kindergarten and then last year got moved up to second grade so now I have my precious kiddos back again. These kids already had a special place in my heart and it is so fun to see them "all grown up." God knew I needed this year to be amazing after last year's challenges and He is already showing up big time! I've been MIA from the blog for a few days because my mind is just jello. There are so many things you have to think about when you teach the first few weeks of school to an elementary student.
My first day went something like this...
-Teach kids how to sit in a circle on the rug
-Teach kids how to line up
-Teach kids how to walk in the halls
-Play get to know you games to build classroom community
-Teach kids appropriate behavior on the playground, in the bathroom and in the lunchroom
-Teach kids how to sharpen a pencil
-Teach kids how to listen for your quiet signal
-Read books about being a good friend
-Teach kids how to organize their desk
-Teach kids how to put their back packs/lunch boxes away
-Oh and stop to take a breath

And that's just day 1. As an elementary teacher you can assume NOTHING. These kids are blank canvases and you are the artist there to mold them into shape. Let's just say I did not stop talking all day long, but after day 3 your talking and modeling starts to pay off and it feels so good.
(Shirt: Gap, Skirt: Target, Necklace: Shabby Apple found here, but won by me in a giveaway!)
For those of you that are teachers I'm going to tell you about a few of my favorite teacher items.
1.) My teaching bag from Fossil. (see picture up top) This bag is amazing and so durable. I can carry several "teacher books" in it as well as my laptop, planner and papers to grade. It has a million pockets for my grading pens, post-it's and paperclips and also has two side pockets for my water bottle and umbrella. (Lesson 1: A teacher must always be prepared)
2.) My Franklin planner (pictured above). I could not live with out it. It is visually appealing and I can buy new re-fill pages every summer to go inside.
3.) My crate seats! I made them last summer and people are still asking about them. My kids love them and they are great for storage! Find my tutorial here.
4.) The Daily 5 book...I use this book to help me teach Reading Workshop and it has so many amazing ideas.
4.) The Cafe book...another book by the "sisters" who wrote the Daily 5. I use this book often for Reading Workshop as well as guided reading groups.
And there you have it...the first day in nutshell and some of my teacher favorites. Now back to lesson planning...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Teacher's prayer

                                                                                                                    Source: via

Tomorrow a new set of kiddos will be walking through the door of room 308. With them comes both the excitement and nervousness of a new school year. I know there will be moments of struggle mixed in with moments of joy so this is my prayer for this new school year.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Nutella Banana bread, Regular banana bread has nothing on you. You are were amazingly delicious and fulfilled all my expectations! 
Dear Classroom, It was so nice staying in you 2 consecutive years in a row. My hours of slaving away have paid off and you are now ready for my new students on Monday!
Dear Weekend, Since you are the last weekend before school starts for both Drew and I we are doing absolutely nothing and loving every second!
Dear Pioneer Woman and your Lemon Basil Chicken, Yum. Yum.Yum. Oh and yum.
Dear Hell on Wheels, When Drew said he wanted to watch you on Netflix I was not excited...Hell on Wheels? A show about building a railroad? Well we are 5 episodes in and I'm on board. Haha.
Dear Blog, You may not be seeing me as much lately because I'm going to be giving 110% of my time to my students. I will be checking in on you, but not every day. Please forgive me.
Dear Bill Nye aka my science guy husband, I can't believe our summer is almost over. Let's make doughnuts and stay in our pjs all day tomorrow okay? P.S. You need to get Mr. BoJangles (your class skeleton) a Bengals jersey and some pants ASAP.
Love, Allison

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cincy Blogger Meet-up

There's just something about meeting up with bloggers from your own city. I FINALLY had the chance to do this the other night....actually it was more like last weekend that we met, but I'm behind the times due to the fact that I have been living in my classroom getting it ready for Monday. Anyway I met up with Sarah, Katie, Liz and Anne and they were all just wonderful. We had a great time sitting outside, sipping on our drinks and chatting about life.
I can't wait to hang out with these lovely ladies again! That and attempt to make my own cast iron skillet mac and cheese. Yum.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lake life

After leaving our family reunion in Kentucky we headed to my Aunt's lake house in Tennessee for a few days of lake life. We had a fabulous time and didn't shower for 3 days...when you go to the lake you take baths in the lake right? Haha. Now on to the pictures...
Drew's new fishing pole ended up at the bottom of the lake. We rigged up a contraption and went fishing for his fishing pole...we were all shocked when I pulled it up out of the water still intact on my first try!
I need more of the lake in my life...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Top 10 reasons to go to a family reunion in KY

1. Fried chicken...we have our Family reunions in Corbin, Kentucky (home of the original KFC.) Speaking of grandpa's brother definitely looks like Colonel Sanders minus the facial hair.
2. Pretty scenery. The Bluegrass state is actually a very pretty place to visit!
3. Seeing family from near and far. We skyped with my cousin Laura who is stationed in Japan.
4. Our annual corn hole tournament. We took over the parking lot. Yes there are medals for the winners. Yes I will get one someday.
5. Generations unite. Our family reunion has been going on for 73 years. They haven't missed a year!
6. Name tags...doesn't everyone have name tags at their family reunion?
7. 2nd cousins that are more like 1st cousins.
8. Seeing people who you must be related to because they are there, but you have no idea who they are.
9. Bourbon and Coke...self-explanatory.

10. More family. I love my family, quirks and all and thankfully Drew does too. He's a keeper.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hazelnut Macaroons

We are 3 for 3 in our Macaroon Making adventures. Our third attempt was Hazelnut Macaroons. These were an easy choice because of my deep love of all things Nutella. Here's the recipe with a few pictures thrown in for fun.
Makes 16
Cast of characters:
-1/4 cup ground almonds
-1/4 cup finely ground hazelnuts, plus 1 Tbsp. chopped to decorate
-1 cup powdered sugar
-2 extra large egg whites
-1/4 cup sugar
-pink food coloring (optional)

Hazelnut spread (Nutella)
Start by pouring yourself a glass of Macaroon wine...yes this exists! Then put the ground almonds, 1/4 cup hazelnuts and powdered sugar in a food processor and process for 15 seconds. Sift the mixture into a bowl. Go ahead and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper for later.

Place the egg whites in a bowl and whip until holding soft peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar to make a firm, glossy meringue. (This step might take longer than you think so just be patient and make sure the consistency is as stated above.)  We wanted to be girly so we added food coloring to make ours pink. Brown and pink is such a cute color combo, don't you think?

Using a spatula, fold the almond/hazelnut mixture into the meringue one third at a time. When all ingredients are incorporated, continue to cut and fold the mixture until it forms a shiny batter with a thick ribbon like consistency.

Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch/1 cm plain tip. Pipe 32 small circles onto the prepared baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets firmly onto a work surface to remove air bubbles (important step people!). Let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 325 degrees F.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes then carefully peel macaroons from parchment paper and let cool completely.
Sandwich pairs of macaroons together with Nutella...feel free to like your fingers and the spatula clean. Actually this is required.
If I haven't said it need to make macaroons ASAP!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday' Letters

Dear little brother, Today is your birthday! We are going out to celebrate YOU tonight! I can't believe you are 20...that makes me OLD. P.S. You have the best dance moves.ever.
Dear Norris Lake, I'm so excited to be gracing you with my presence again this weekend. Thank you for giving me one last hurrah before school starts in a few short weeks.
Dear BLT,
You are my favorite summer sandwich hands down. I'm drooling just thinking of you and our rendezvous last night. P.S. When you order a BLT do you just assume it is going to come with mayo? I do...but the people sitting near us at a restaurant were fighting over if a BLT included mayo or if you had to ask for it. Just curious your thoughts...
Dear Summer Olympics,
I wish you were year round...but then I guess you wouldn't be as special. I could watch you all day long...oh wait, I have been.
Dear Gentri Lee,
Thank you so much for having me as your blog of the week this week. You are the best!
Dear Handy Dandy Husband,
I can't wait to Kayak on the lake with you. You have your fishing stuff all over the house and your filet knife is sharp so I'm expecting some fresh fish for dinner one night!
Love, Allison
 Have a fabulous Friday!