Monday, November 26, 2012

Dollar Store Lovin'

If you are a substitute teacher or a new teacher, you are probably broke and trying to stretch every paycheck. I'm with you and that is why I have fallen in love with the dollar store. Did you know that most of the products at the dollar store are priced at 70% less than drugstores and super markets?! Now some things are worth buying and some are not. I've done some research and compiled a list of things to BUY and SKIP that will help you in your classroom and your home.

- Containers. This really is a no brainer folks. The dollar store sells a variety of containers from plastic, glass, to fabric lined. This is a great deal when you have to buy one for every student in your class. These can be used to store folders, supplies, books, etc. The dollar store will also carry containers to go with the seasons and holidays. 

- Shampoo. Now this I really didn't believe but according to Consumer Reports, spending money on expensive shampoos does not improve hair any better than cheap store-brand shampoos. The only difference you will notice is the smell will not be as strong but your hair will be just as clean. Many dollar stores are carrying name brands like L'Oreal, Pantene, and Suave. 

- Party Supplies. How many times do you reuse your party supplies for each themed party you have? That's right - never. The quality of materials may not be as great but it all looks the same and will last through out the entire party. 

- Frames. Again, the quality will not be the same but they are just as cute and functional. You can spray paint them to make them any color you wish!

- Teacher Supplies. From stickers to pocket charts, I've seen it all at the dollar store. 

- Paper Products.  You're going to get what you paid for here. Poor quality napkins that rip and you'll end up using double or triple the sheets/towels. Not worth it. 

- Pet Food. The knock off brands might not use the same ingredients and make your furry friends sick. It isn't worth the risk.

- Oven Mitts. I'm speaking from experience when I say SKIP THIS ITEM. They are not made with the same material and are a lot thinner. It will not do the job of keeping out the heat. And as they say..If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. 

Happy Thrifty Shopping!      



Sunday, November 25, 2012

So you have a job interview...

You've gotten past the sheer excitement at the fact that you have secured yourself a job interview in this competitive field of teaching....NOW WHAT?! Don't panic. I've put together some great resources to help.

1. The Corner Stone For Teachers 

The link will lead you to interview tips as well as suggestions on how to answer. 
A great page for a quick refresher. 

This article is from 2010 but I still think the advice is relevant. 
More great resources are listed at the bottom of their page. 

3. Ace your Teacher Interview: 149 Fantastic Answers to Tough Interview Questions

I saw this book on Pinterest and  checked it out online. It has a lot of great reviews. I was able to order it on for about $8.50 and should be getting it delivered in the next two weeks.(I wasn't able to get it right on my Nook- sad face) I'll read and keep you updated on this one, it looks promising.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Recite This

I just heard about this fantastic website while listening to a radio station. It's called ReciteThis.Com. The website allows you to enter any quote or saying you would like and it creates these beautiful prints for you! Use it to make signs for your classroom, inspirational quotes to frame, or desktop backgrounds. Below is my creation.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Storage Ideas

Sometimes as teachers we feel like hoarders - here are some great storage ideas to store all our "stuff": 

1. Storage Seat Crates

2. Storing Clipboards
3. Lazy Susan
source unknown
4. Storing little things
5. Storing things by month

Monday, November 12, 2012

DIY: Mod Podge

I've really been on a craft kick lately and I don't I hate it. I chose to mod podge. I mod podged (yes, I will use this as a verb) when I was a kid but I hadn't done it in a long time. I didn't realize just HOW easy it is!

I went out to Michael's to get my materials:
I found a wooden letter (my first initial), some scrap book paper. This was a pack of 24 sheets with different prints all in the same color scheme, and MOD PODGE (I hear angels singing whenever I say the words). Just like the spray paint there are different finishes for Mod Podge. I chose satin to give my finished pieces some sheen to them. There was also Matte (would give you a flat finish), Paper, even Sparkle! This also came as a spray paint. For smaller pieces I would recommend the bottle of glue like I used. You won't have the fumes so you can do it inside without passing out or losing brain cells.

With my materials in hand and Oprah's Next Chapter with Carrie Underwood on the television I was ready to get started.
Since the letter C is curved I decided to cut my scrap book paper into 2 inch pieces and strategically laid them on the wood. With a sponge brush you slather the glue onto the wood and place your paper where you want it. I let that take some time to dry (maybe 10 minutes) then I cut around the perimeter of my letter. When that was finished I painted the Mod Podge on the outside of the letter and over the paper. This hardens and gave it a nice shine.

After my night of Mod Podging complete I had finished clothes pins, my big letter C and an iPhone case. I simply covered an old one I had gotten from Five Below. Yay for recycling!!!

DIY: Spray Painted Furniture

This weekend I was on a mission. A mission to make something adorable. I set my sights on my ugly TV stand.
To create this easy and inexpensive look keep reading!


1. Get yourself some spray paint. Make sure it will adhere to the material you will be spraying. The basic can will spray onto metal, wood, wicker, glass and ceramic finishes. If you will be spraying plastic you will need a different can. Decide what finish you want when the paint dries. Choosing Flat will dry without any sheen. It will look like a basic painted wall. Gloss will have some glisten to it. I haven't tried their Satin ones but I assume they would be shinier than gloss. I used 1 and a half cans of black flat spray paint for this piece of furniture.

I went to Michael's and Walmart for my materials. I found a can of basic spray paint at Michael's was $4.99 and a can from Walmart was $3.67.

2. You will also need to get some sand paper. This will help rough up the surface to help the paint adhere better. You will also smooth out any imperfections you have on your piece of furniture. I got a set of three sheets for about $3.

3. To add some pizzazz to my TV stand I bought some stencils. I grabbed a set from Martha Stewart for $8.99. Pricey for my standards but it came with a lot of great useful stencils AND the back is sticky even after you clean it. This makes it easier when stenciling. Get yourself a  sponge brush and paint for this step. I used some black and white acrylic paint I had laying around and mixed it to make a grey (even though it really looks like white in the pictures!

4. I bought a can of clear varnish spray paint too. This just acts as an extra shield against nicks and scratches. 

Then you have everything you need to begin!

This whole project cost me a little under $23 ( I had a 20% off coupon at Michael's). I still have materials left over. I also went ahead and spray painted plastic drawers.
This is all part of a room makeover. My color scheme is black, grey, white, and yellow. Next weekend I'll be tackling my dresser! Stay Tuned!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Goodwill Hunting

Today my friend Brianna and I went on a Goodwill shopping spree, we called it Goodwill Hunting (we're pretty clever, right?) I have been a fan of shopping at Goodwill for about a year now. You would be surprised at the great finds you can get if you really take the time to look. I've been to three locations in my area and they always have some great name brand finds (J.Crew, Ann Taylor, Target, and H&M). Most of the items I've found are gently used or still have the tags on them! I have also gotten a lot of great items for substitute teaching - bookmarks and stickers for about 25 cents a pack.

Here are some of today's finds, all were less than $5.00 each:
These are great items to add into your wardrobe. Even if you wear them once they are well worth it! Happy bargain shopping!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

DIY: Beautify Your Storage

As a teacher and a girl, I always want to try to make things as pretty and/or coordinated as possible. When searching for storage bins and drawers they come in black, white, clear and sometimes a few other colors. Why not take some time to personalize them into one-of-a-kind pieces?

I've seen some ideas on pinterest. I also saw this fantastic filing cabinet while substitute teaching yesterday:
I was able to speak to the wonderful teacher and she said she found self-adhesive shelf liner at T.J Maxx and used that to cover her filing cabinet and other surfaces and bins in her room. I thought it just made the room so much more personalized and her. I left that school and on my way to the nearest T.J Maxx. I was able to find some shelf liner. 30 sq. ft for $5.99. When searching for shelf liner it needs to be self-adhesive. I've seen projects where the back of the liner is not sticky and you need to use glue, tape, or mod-podge but I thought this would be a lot easier.

I found a pink giraffe print. Now, I may not want my life covered in pink giraffe but I really wanted to try out this project. I plan on going back to T.J Maxx when they re-stock their inventory on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays to search for more prints.

I began with my item of choice to cover:
I began cutting my shelf liner and sticking. The beauty in this self-adhesive is you can remove it and replace the liner plenty of times and it remains sticky in case your placement is off.

 I found using an exacto knife was easier to work with. I simply stuck my liner on the drawers and was able to slice off the pieces I didn't want. This did take some time and patience. I recommend using a credit card to smooth out bubbles although I didn't have to do that too much.
Ta-Da! I have a new revamped piece of storage.

Shelf-Liner Featured: The MacBeth Collection
More shelf liner products:
Con-Tact - Bed Bath & Beyond
Con-Tact Brand

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Please enjoy this freebie from my TeachersPayTeachers store.

It is a daily feedback form that you can download and print to give to the teacher's you sub for at the end of the day. It is cute and concise, giving the classroom teacher the essential information of how your day went with his or her class.

Teachers rejoice: A nail polish for you!

Introducing my favorite nail polish of the moment:
I think this color is especially perfect for teachers. It is a nude color with just enough pigment to look like you did your nails. It is a flat color with no satin or sheen to it so when your nails chip (and if you're a teacher I promise they will!) you can barely tell. I'm a no fuss gal so when I paint my nails...I am not painting them again for at least two weeks. It goes with almost every outfit you wear and is still a professional color for the fall and winter. Essie is now sold at so many more locations, Target, Wal-mart, drugstores, and Ulta - so pick yours up today and keep your fingers looking chic!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Substitute Teacher's Dream

This is a post directed to classroom teachers and a memo to those who will be full time classroom teachers one day. As a substitute teacher, there are some additions to classrooms and plans that would make a sub's time in your classroom a whole lot easier.

1. If you label your cupboards and drawers with numbers it is so much easier to create a sheet stating what materials can be found and in what location. (Example: #12: construction paper)
Plus, it will be easier for you and your students during a day. How many times do you find yourself saying to a student: " Okay the third bottom drawer on the your other not that one...not that one....Jimmy, THE LEFT!" Now your problem can be solved: "Jimmy grab the worksheets from drawer #15". Easy Peasy!

2. I found this on Pinterest and could not find the original location. This is a fantastic idea. Once your classroom is set up take some pictures of the room and zoom in on important areas, add some captions explaining the important aspects and add whatever else your sub will need to know. I have gone into a lot of classrooms and find myself walking around the room while reading lines such as, "look to the right of my desk, there is a empty desk next to that...look for the black tub, next to the black tub is a small grey shelf, behind the grey shelf is the stapler." These photos will be a great help to your substitute teacher and save a lot of time!

sub binder filled with photos!!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Friday!

Go do something for yourself this weekend.

My apologies for no blogging this week. 
Hurricane Sandy was an unwanted visitor and overstayed her welcome. 
I made sure to be very prepared for her arrival. 
But all that happened was a loss of cable and internet until yesterday morning. We were very lucky but it explains the lack of bloggage.