Friday, August 30, 2013

August Favorites

Here are a few of my favorite things from the month of August...

1. I didn't do much crafting all summer so I was so glad I squeezed this stool makeover in. I'm just smitten with it and can't wait to glitz up the rest of my craft room supplies. See a tutorial of how I spruced up my boring stool here.
2. A new to me mountain bike purchase. Now Drew and I both have mountain bikes and we have been loving our afternoon bike rides into town to drop off mail, grab ice cream or pick up a book from the library. We can't wait to hit up some trails this fall.
3. Our annual family reunion in Kentucky ya'll. I absolutely love my family and we always have a great time getting together and eating fried chicken, competing in our family corn hole tournament, playing frisbee golf, etc. etc.
3. Celebrating my dear friend Bekah's birthday at a cute new to us spot. We did a wine and dine at a place called the Art of Entertaining. I can't wait to go back. Great food, great wine, fun atmosphere!
4. A trip to Norris lake with my family. We stayed at my Aunt's lake house and had a great time!
5. Drew and I found over $100 worth of gift cards from our wedding (4 years ago) that we thought we had lost. They turned up the weekend before we went back to school so we splurged on an awesome date night.
6. Surprisingly another favorite of mine has been getting back into my teaching routine. You probably think I'm crazy...I love summers off, but I also love my job. I honestly get nervous every year that I'm going to forget how to do the whole teaching thing, but it always comes right back. I also feel extremely loved each and every day by my students, which is a huge blessing. You can see a sneak peek of my classroom here.
That wraps up my favorite things from August...I just can't believe another month is here and gone!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Teacher Style {What I Wore}

As an elementary teacher the clothes you wear are extremely important. You are often on the floor with kids and you hardly ever sit down so comfort is a MUST. That being said I still want to look somewhat fashionable so I've been working on a few outfits. Here are a few I've put together...
1. Dress: Banana Republic, Sweater: LOFT, Belt: Limited
2. Dress: Whole Foods, Sweater, Kohl's (Lauren Conrad)
3. Dress: Kohl's, Blazer: H&M, Belt: Old Navy
4. Chambray Top: Limited, Striped Ponte Pencil Skirt: Limited  (I call this look my "Meg Henning"because when I put it together I thought of her so thanks Meg.)

I've really been trying to "up" my teacher style without spending a lot of money so I've been remixing my summer dresses. I'd love any suggestions for other cute and comfortable outfits you wear to work!
Merona Dress: Target, Necklace: Fossil, Boots: Fergalicious
*Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gold Dipped Stool Makeover

I am so excited to share this Gold dipped stool makeover with you today! It is an inexpensive, but bold change that you can make to any boring old stool. When I turned my office into a craft room my aunt gave me a stool she wasn't using to go with my craft table. It had a wooden top and white metal legs and wasn't the cute stool I had envisioned, but it did the job. I immediately went out and bought some spray paint to spruce it up then it sat untouched for a few months until I saw this image on Pinterest. Gold dipped bar stool? Count me in.
Here's what you will need:
-Old stool
-Butcher Paper
-Painter's Tape
-Screwdriver (if top of stool is removable)
-Spray paint for legs of stool (I used Krylon:Watermelon)
-Gold Spray paint
 *I actually used a glitter spray paint, but Krylon does make a gold spray paint too

Start by taking off the top of your stool if you can or simply cover it. Spray paint the legs of the stool in your color of choice. Don't stand too close or the spray paint will drip and smudge.
While this is drying go get the top of your stool and the Gold spray paint. Time to have fun glitz-ing up your not so cute (for now) stool. Spray a good base coat then let it dry and spray again.
When the legs of your stool are completely dry figure out how high up you want the gold dip to be and use painter's tape to tape off the area on each leg. Then completely cover the rest of the stool with butcher paper. Use painters tape to secure loose areas. You don't want any gold to get through.
Grab your gold spray paint again and start spraying the bottom of each leg. I did a coat then let it dry and sprayed again. I actually ended up using two cans of the gold/glitter spray paint. The more glitter the better I say!
I let the legs dry for a long time before removing the painters tape and butcher paper. It was worth the wait because I absolutely love how it turned out!! The final step is to spray the final product with a coat of clear lacquer so it will hold up better. Here's a before and after shot...
This can of gold spray paint has me in trouble. I now want to spray paint all my desk accessories gold and make these gold rock bookends because every accessory is classier and more fun with a little glitter right? Original tutorial can be found here.

::Speaking of could win one of my Gold polka dotted banners and lots more over at Living in Yellow today so hop on over and enter! Good luck!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Classroom {Tour}

I have been working hard on my home away from home aka my second grade classroom for weeks and I'm happy with how it has turned out. Today as you read this I am welcoming in a new class of kiddos and this will be their home too. I always want my room to feel comfortable and welcoming to them because it is their space for the next 9 months too. I don't like clutter because I think it's distracting to the kids. I love simplicity, but cute and colorful simplicity always.
This bulletin board gets filled with letters from people all across the country. We send out our flat selves after reading Flat Stanley and then post each letter we receive on this board. The kids love this activity...and I do too.
When you first walk in my room this is what you will see. My library is one of my favorite parts of the room because I've worked extremely hard on leveling and making the books ones that kids love to read!
This is the other half of the room that includes my word wall and a little reading nook. My desk is in the back right corner.
Since my school is in the middle of the city I love that my room has huge windows with natural light and great views!
A closer look at my word wall and math shelves.
The view from my desk. :)
I love books and have several displayed all throughout the classroom. This is my "teacher shelf."

This is my guided reading table where I work with small groups. The crate seats are one of the best projects I've made to date. Cute and great for storage and the kids love them! See my tutorial on them here.
So there you have it. A mini tour of where I'll be spending a majority of my time for the next 9 months! What do you think? Could you live here? :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How a teacher preparing to go back to school is like a mom preparing for a baby

As a teacher you are often mistakenly called "mom," "grandma" and sometimes even "dad." I know everyone has to already know how much teaching is like parenting, but as I have been setting up my classroom these last few weeks I've been pondering the comparisons between an elementary teacher preparing to go back to school and a mom preparing to have a baby...
ONE: You have to get your rooms ready. Everything has to be washed and everything new has to be wiped down. You spend countless hours debating what should go where and how high to hang things with your future children in mind.
TWO: You start rampantly trying to cross things off your list before the big day because you know you will have no time once the day arrives when your kid(s) come. You think about preparing meals in advance and even planning out clothes you will be able to wear when the kid(s) come because your style is about to change.
THREE: You start planning out events that you will do with your soon to be family. Songs to sing, games to play, activities and things to do on your first days together.
FOUR: You set out books and toys that are your favorites to share and you hope your children love them as much as you did as a child.
FIVE: They are under your complete control and supervision for a solid 9 months.
SIX: You go out and get your haircut, nails done, eyebrows waxed, etc. knowing you won't be getting pampered for quite a while since you will have people besides yourself who take priority.
SEVEN: Once the kid(s) finally arrive it's all about firsts and you document it all in pictures to put into a slide show to document the year. Routine also plays a big role and if a routine is offset your children will let you know!
EIGHT: When your new children arrive you are nervous, but excited. Your heart is full knowing how much they will love and adore you even if they don't always appreciate all you do for them at the time. It is worth it!

Good luck to all the new teachers starting another school year (and all the mom's starting their new journey). You DO make a difference!

*And no I'm not least not that I know of. :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Bucketlist {re-visited}

As summer comes to a close (so depressing!) I thought I should re-visit my summer bucket list and see what things I was able to cross off my list...
-Bike ride on the Loveland bike trail 
We didn't make it to the actual bike trail, but we did both get new (to us) mountain bikes and took several rides around town and in the park near our house 

-Try out at least 3 new restaurants in downtown Cincy  
One thing we definitely did this summer was explore our city. We tried out more than 3 new restaurants, but these were some of my favorites: Echo, Taste of Belgium and Anchor

-Read at least 10 books on my list (FAIL, I read 4 and a half)
I read The Princess Bride, The Distant Hours, Call the Midwife, Bread & Wine and I'm in the middle of Wild

-Use our canoe  
I'm going to count Kayaking
-Try out some new donut recipes (FAIL, but we will get around to it one of these days)

-Have a picnic at the park
A few of my girlfriends picked up Whole Foods and took it to the park near my house. We laid out a blanket, ate and napped in the sun.
-Go to the drive in
We saw Monsters University/Superman on my birthday
-Put together a photo wall
You can see how it turned out here!
-Travel to a state we've never visited
We went out to Colorado for a wedding and mini vaca. I miss it!

-Find new places to hang our hammocks
We hung hammocks in KY at our family reunion and then at the lake in Tennessee.
-Make creamsicles 
Made these twice. They are that good.
-Go back to Findlay Market (Fail)
-Do some of the DIY projects I have pinned 
 I only did one measly DIY project for my craft room, but I am in love with my new stool for my craft room below! (Tutorial coming soon.) I did however make quite a few new recipes that I had pinned. I made several new recipes including Strawberry Bruschetta, Lemon Asparagus Couscous, and Mini chocolate chip cheesecakes
-Find a way to give back/serve others
Drew and I are still looking for a consistent way we can serve others outside of our teaching jobs, but we did go to Matthew 25 Ministries and helped out at a church garage sale to raise money for a family trying to adopt two children from China. Drew and I also gave up TV before 10 am and worked on being intentional in our marriage.

-Attend a few Reds Games and explore the Banks
We did get to go to a Red's game when Drew's family was in town and tried out Yard House at the Banks.
*A few of my other favorite summer activities included our trip to Norris lake with my family, living like a local on my birthday, making Cake batter martinis and celebrating our 4 year anniversary.

I am so sad summer is ending, but there's also a sense of excitement as a new school year is about to begin. I will probably be very sporadic in my posting for the next month or so as I adjust back to working full time, but I'll do my best to keep up with all that is happening in your lives!

Goodbye's been real.

P.S. Another Hello/Goodbye Link-up will be happening on September 1st so mark your calendar if you want to join in!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Anchor's Away! (Seafood lover's paradise)

A few weeks ago we tried out a seafood restaurant downtown called Anchor to cross off another item on our Summer Bucket List. I will be honest, I'm usually not the biggest fan of seafood, but there are a few dishes I love including, but mostly limited to fish tacos. Mmmm. We went to this restaurant after randomly seeing it on a walk downtown and thought it looked fun. The atmosphere reminded of a New Orleans style restaurant. We went with our friend's Andrea and Nate (who are now proud parents of little Jack) and got 4 different seafood dishes. We ended up passing them back and forth around the table because they were all so good. I got a pesto dish with crab in it and it was amazing! Other favorites...the classic fish and chips, a Cod B.L.T. and Scallops. If you live in the Cincy area I highly recommend trying out Anchor if you are a fan of seafood! I would love to start incorporating a few more seafood dishes into our meal rotation..branching out for me is cooking salmon and fish tacos so if you have any amazing seafood dishes...send them my way!

Happy Weekend friends.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Owl Be Sweatin' {I finally found a NON-SLIP headband!}

Let me start by saying that I have been searching forever for a "non-slip" headband that actually doesn't slip. I've bought so many different kinds to try and they constantly fall off, which as you know is extremely annoying. K.C. and Mallory over at Owl be Sweatin' sent me their adjustable, non-slip headband to test out and that is exactly what I did.

I started off by walking to the didn't fall off.
Then didn't fall off.
Then I wore it in an intense corn hole didn't fall off.
Then I wore it while didn't fall off.
The real test was when I went out on the jet still didn't fall off!
Not only did the headband stay on, I could adjust it, which I loved! Every headband in their shop is cute and fashionable. You could wear any of them to the gym or out and about. I promise they have a style in their shop that you will love! They also have headbands that are different widths for you to choose from. Here are a few of my other favorites from their shop!
Owl Be Sweatin' Headbands

K.C. and Mallory have generously offered a discount to all of you. Just go visit their Etsy shop, Owl Be Sweatin', pick out a headband and enter the code: nestfuloflove13 at checkout for 15% off your ENTIRE purchase! I will definitely be investing in several more of these amazing headbands because not only do they stay on, but they are adorable! So what are you waiting for? Head over to Owl Be Sweatin' and get a headband that will actually stay on your head!

*I did receive a free headband from their shop, but as always all opinions are my own!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My "Pinterest-free" wedding

Today I'm sharing a few details from my "Pinterest-free" wedding over on Jax's blog as she prepares for her own big day this Saturday!!! Yay! You can check it out over here!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes!!

If you love cheesecake then you have to make these mini cheesecakes! This recipe makes 8 mini cheesecakes so double the recipe if you want to share.

Cheesecake Crust Ingredients:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
small pinch salt
2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

Cheesecake Ingredients:
8-oz cream cheese (softened)
2 tbsp sour cream or greek-style yogurt if you want to be healthier
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
Start by Preheating the oven to 350F then line 8 cups of a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, make the graham cracker crust using the ingredients above. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt and stir to combine. Pour over melted butter and stir with a fork to moisten the crumbs.
Place about a tablespoon of crumb mixture in each of the prepared muffin cups and pack down into an even layer.
In a large bowl, make the cheesecake. Cream together cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Place 1 tbsp chocolate chips into each of the muffin cups. Evenly divide cheesecake batter between the muffin cups, covering the first layer of chocolate chips. Place another tbsp of chocolate chips on top of the cheesecake batter in each of the muffin cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheesecakes are set then allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan. Carefully transfer cheesecakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before refrigerating. I had to eat one while it was warm and it was amazing then I tried another one when it was cold...I had to test both options and both were delicious.
A few tips: I am a chocolate lover and loved the amount of chocolate chips, but if you want more of the cheesecake flavor I would recommend adding a few less chips. Also, with this recipe the crust stuck to a few of the cupcake liners so you might want to put a little more butter in the crust mix to keep it from sticking. Otherwise this is the PERFECT recipe. Nom*nom*nom.

Original recipe from here!