The Cool Kids

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 39 of Forty: Don't Spoil it!

Yesterday, the youngest brought home an Easter basket that he made in his first grade class. He's been pretty glad that HE didn't give up candy for Lent. I know this because there are chocolate foil wrappers and empty plastic eggs all over the house and I know that at least 40% of those are not from ME. He also has a mustache the color of green apple Jolly Ranchers. Hey. It IS Spring Break, AND he gave up french fries this year...

The little man asked his dad who he thought filled the baskets in his classroom. The man just shrugged and smiled at me. I smiled big right back, because scenes like this ALWAYS remind me of one of my favorite Kindergarten stories...

There was a little boy named Billy (not his real name,) who came to school crying his eyes out one cold, December morning. When I asked him what was wrong, he said, "Dean (not his real name) told me that Santa Claus is not real! He told me that I'm a baby for not knowing that my parents are the ones who bring presents! He told Sarah and Joe from the other class too....Ahhhhhhhhhhh (more tears) Is it true, Mrs. M.?  Is Santa not for real?"

"Oh honey" I said, totally unprepared, "what do you think?"

"Well I sat on his lap on Saturday! He knows what I want for Christmas! We're making cookies for Rudolph! I think he's real, but Dean says..." said the boy whose chest was still rising and falling with sobs.

"Billy, you can't listen to everything Dean says...and I'm so sorry he made you cry. I will talk with your mom about this later today, okay?" I said, absolutely relieved to hear the morning bell ringing.

After the children had said the pledge and began their morning lessons, I called lovely "Dean" into the hallway. He knew what I was calling him out for because he spoke before I was able to.

He said loudly, "Billy is such a baby! It's not my fault he doesn't know there is no such thing as Santa! My mom told me that when I was like, THREE! Duh!"

All I could think of was the rest of the children I would have to be consoling for the rest of the day over this. I paused for a moment, then leaned down very close to Dean's face. These are the words I chose, and I spoke them slowly, so Dean would understand..

"Dean. I understand that you are very grown up. I get that you don't believe in things like Santa or the Easter Bunny anymore. I respect that your mom has told you the truth about these things, but really. Other parents may not have told their children this yet. You may NOT go around ruining this for other children. The others will all learn in their own time.  For now, PLEASE don't say anything more to the children, okay?"

Dean looked back at me with tears in his eyes. This was a rare sight. I couldn't believe that I'd gotten through to him. Usually he was the one who would shrug his shoulders or nod carelessly. His mouth had begun to quiver and my heart started to ache for this little boy. I hoped I wasn't too stern; that wasn't my intention at all.

"Are you okay?" I asked, holding both of his hands.

"NO!" he yelled. He was in full-force crying mode now.

"Dean, what's the matter?" I said, squeeze-hugging him and checking out the children who were starting to stare at us through the open classroom door.

Dean pulled away from me. He looked me in my eyes, then ran to the teacher from the next room who had come to see what all the fuss was about. During the run, Dean screamed in a piercing voice for all the school to hear,

"Mrs. M. said there's no such thing as the Easter Bunny! She said he wasn't real!!!".

Holy marshmallow peeps, people. It takes skills to kill kid's dreams.

Happy, "believe-whatever-you-want-to" Saturday, friends.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 38 of Forty: Filtered

Hello friends! It's finally Friday! Woo Hoo! I taught all day, spilled coffee in the car and then came home and burned two pizzas. Rock on though, because tonight kicks off Spring Break vacation for our family! 9 glorious days. We're not going anywhere special this year, but all of us are unbelievably glad to have a valid "break".
 Before I get ready to have a real sleep-in Saturday, I want to share with you a fun project I did with the kids after school today. It was supposed to be with the youngest, but my other children decided to take pity on their mama, make my day and join in. Not many of those days left, I know... so I'm counting this as a perfect Friday.

If you want to make a simple Spring Project with your kids, give this one a try.

You'll need:
Crayola Markers (fat ones work best)
Coffee Filters
Spray Bottle
Various decorations: google eyes, pipe cleaners, pompoms (I bought this bag at Walmart in the craft aisle)
glue, scissors, tape

 1. Lay out coffee filters flat on a newspaper or construction paper. You need to protect your counter tops! Use the flat side of the different colored markers (at an angle) and completely cover the filter paper. There is no pattern needed..just have fun and know that little fingers are going to get a bit stained :)

 2. When filter(s) are completely covered and you have made as many as you want, set them and the newspapers on the floor.
 3. Use the spray bottle (on mist) to completely saturate the filter. You will know that you have done this because the words from the paper will show through. It's okay if the markers start to bleed off the edges. The point of this is to blend the colors.

 Here is an example of how beautiful the result can be if you use white construction paper instead of newspaper. We do this and then use that paper for stationary.
 4. Let the filters dry on their own or use a hair dryer...When dry, collect for your project!

 5.  Use the decorations with the colored filters to create things that remind you of Spring.

My kids are pretty creative on their own, but they ALWAYS rise to the challenge. Like I've said before, the older two enjoy the one-upmanship of each other. They veered away from the SPRING theme a bit, but the results were still pretty hilarious...and impressive ;)

This is what they came up with...

A Spring flower...

A snake, A clam and a jellyfish...

A bumblebee on a flower...

A parachute...

a peacock (back) and a caterpillar (front)...

a horsefly...

 and a dragonfly!

Happy Spring Break Friday, friends :)

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 37 of Forty: Ruffles

Hello friends!

No, this post is not about potato chips. (I wish!)

I ordered this amazing fabric a while back. It's called "ruffle fabric". You can order it online from, where else?  After looking at the tags, I see that it is located in Utah. (Who knew?) Anyway, I believe it runs around 15-17 dollars a yard, but if you love ruffles, it is COMPLETELY worth every penny. I would never in a million years be able to create anything like it. I ordered a yard of pink, hot pink and eggplant.

 When the eggplant came, I knew that it was going to be the color of our "theatre-like" room. Remember that man cave? Remember how I needed to hang some pictures or make some pillows for that dark room? There is where the ruffle fabric comes in.

It looks like this:

Beautiful, no?

I had some of this crispy, inexpensive cotton from IKEA ($4 a yard). I figured I could use it for the backs of the pillows :

I had hideous well-worn blue pillows I used as pillow forms.

And then I made these:

So much better, don't you think? With pillows selling for ridiculous amounts of money these days, I figure I saved at least half, and they match the room perfectly. Plus, they are removable and washable. For a room where teenagers hang out, that is a must.

Would you like to try to make some? Here is what you'll need: (for 2)

* 2 old pillows/pillow forms. Mine are 17" square
* 1 yard ruffle fabric cut in 2 squares; cut 2" longer on all sides than your pillow. My pillows were 17", so the squares were 19".
* 2 pieces of quilter's weight interfacing You can use fusible, but I just sewed mine on. 19" square (you can also use flannel for this part. Diaper flannel works really well.
*1 1/2yrd of 60" width cotton for the backs. I used 4 pieces of the IKEA fabric cut 24" X 19"each
*thread, ruler, sewing machine, scissors

Tutorial Codes:
RST= right sides of fabric together (touching)
RSU- Right side of fabric facing up
WST- Wrong sides of Fabric touching
RSO- Right Side Out

1. Lay pillow form on ruffle fabric, or Measure two inches extra around the pillow and cut. If you are making more than one pillow, you can fold ruffle fabric in half, so you'll only have to cut once. The fabric is stretchy, so don't worry if it bounces back or looks askew..

2. Because the fabric is stretchy, you'll want to sew a sturdier fabric on the back. You don't have to do this step, but it makes everything easier to work with later on. . Lay your ruffle fabric on the interfacing/flannel, pin and cut out. Again, it doesn't have to be perfectly matched. I doubled the interfacing so I could cut two at once. (two pillows, remember?)

3. Lay out your interfacing. Place ruffle fabric on top of it. The ruffles are RSU. Pin the fabrics together. You can't have too many pins. Your goal is to keep the ruffles all facing the same way. Baste ALL around the square. You can use your sewing machine on the longest stitch, or do it by hand. I basted mine at 1/4 inch all the way around. This way, I don't have to remove it later. Work slowly. This is where you'll be glad you pinned.

You can square up the fabric if you'd like. This is the front of your pillow.

4. Take your backing fabric and iron it. Fold each piece in half WST and press again. My pieces were 24'X19"; folded they were 12X19". On the folded edge, stitch across each piece (1/4"). This gives a nice, finished look to the back of your pillows. The picture below shows my four pieces, laying on top of one another (you'll need 2 for each back)

5. Okay. Remember, I am spatially challenged. Bear with me on the next directions. If you have any questions, leave me a comment... Lay your ruffle fabric RSU. Take one of your back pieces and lie it on top of the ruffles, matching up the corners on one side. Your finished edge that you previously sewed will be facing the center. In my picture below, the finished edge is where the fabric says, "seventeen eight" All of your other edges are raw.

6. Take your other backing piece and match raw corners again on opposite side. Your finished edge will OVERLAP the first backing piece. That is what you want! Again, all other edges are raw.

7. Pin that baby ALL THE WAY AROUND. Before you sew, make sure that your interfacing is on the bottom, your ruffle fabric is facing up and your backing pieces are on top of the ruffles, finished sides in the middle, and are over lapping.

8. Take that sandwich and sew around ALL sides (1/2 inch seam allowance)

9. Remove pins, cut off corners close to, but not through the stitches. This will help your corners be crisp. If you'd like, you can also trim any obvious excess around the pillow. Do NOT cut through any stitching.

10. Flip that pillow RSO. Poke the corners out with your fingertips. The back will look like an envelope opening (one side overlapping). Stuff your pillow form inside..

12. Cover completely, pull at the corners and fluff. You should be finished. Yay!

Here is the label for the ruffle company and a picture of another project I made using the pink ruffle fabric.

Have a wonderful Thursday, friends :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 36 of Forty : All that glitters...

"All that glitters is not gold".  Isn't that how the old saying goes?

Let me tell you how that works at our house:

The Youngest: "Mom, you really gave away pretty jewelry on your blog?"

Me: (nodding) "mmhmm. I did."

The youngest: "Please tell me when you're doing that again, so I can try to win some."

Me: "Aw, do you want to give the jewels to the prettiest lady in the world?"

The youngest: "Yep, my teacher would love some of that stuff!"

Me: "You know, there was a time when you thought I was the only girl in the world you would give the shiny stuff to.."

The youngest: "I know. But my teacher has a treat box....And she shares."

Of course she does. Forget about food and shelter, people. It's all about the treats these days. And sharing. Where do kids learn that stuff, anyway?

Happy Wednesday, friends :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 35 of Forty: Guess who won some bling?

Hello friends. Thank you for heeding the call and making your way over to Nickie's site. If you didn't make it in time for the contest, still try and check out her jewelry site. She's been working hard all day setting that baby up. If you need help finding it, I've set up a link over on the right side of my page under my Facebook widget. Or you can message me for any information.

I've got an exciting date tonight with a pair of scissors, a ton of color, foil and a girlfriend who is beyond good at getting rid of all my grey. Her job seems to get harder every time we meet.

Anyway, I'm posting this part of the blog, and then having some poor soul from my family insert the winner of today's drawing...

The winner of a zippy and a piece of bling is....

First, Be jealous of the "bling" covering all that grey..

My awesome hairdresser/magician/friend trying to draw her own name...

Hil! Woo Hoo for you!

Ha-Ha! Congratulations to Hilarie M!! Comment at the end of this post and leave me your email address so we can get down to the prizes.

Again, Thanks to EVERYONE for supporting my forever-friend, Nickie. My blog friends (new and old) seriously rock.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 34 of Forty- Shameless Plug and a drawing...

Happy Monday, friends!

I don't get paid for any of my "naming of things I love"; let's just throw that out there now.

I wanted to share with you a dear friend's site. She works for "Just Jewelry". It is an adorable company just starting up with cute and more important, affordable pieces. I'm me. You already know me, but my daughter loves it too! We've given gifts from Just Jewelry and they're always well received. Nothing from the company is more than $38. I would love it if you would take a look, friend her company page and/or like her business page. Both actions will get her company "out there". Please know that I don't hock junk on my blog; this is the real deal..and, she's my forever friend :)

I have never had so much publicity for my blog or the shellybean shop as I have from Nickie. I love the fact that I've known her since I was three and she's still cheering me on.

Nickie has a permanent spot on this blog, so whenever you feel the need to get some inexpensive bling that looks as good or nicer than the more expensive "stuff", give it a click. I swear she has something new all the time. I only have so many wrists and necks in my family, so help two girls out, would you? Where do you find this page? It's right over there, on the right hand side of my blog under my Facebook widget.

Here are a few of my pieces...

She understands that times are hard, so there is never any pressure. If you join her sites, tell her shellybean sent you. (You know we're going to have a contest, right? Of course you do!) Then tell everyone you know. Please :)

Thank you friends, Have a sparkly day!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 33 of Forty- Thankful Five

Happy Sunday, friends.  Here are 5 things I'm grateful for:

1. Neighborhood friends. Let's face it. My forever friends are the people who were my very first neighbors; people I met when I was three. I love them just as much as I did when we were running around playing kick the can after school. The neighborhood we moved from four years ago gave us a multitude of grown-up friends. Even though we live where-ever we do now, many of us are still close. We were all the same age, we all had children that went to school together and we all were struggling with the same issues (paying the bills, working multiple jobs, fitting in). It was a very pleasant place to grow our family. I'm grateful I was allowed to have the experience of getting to know so many great people. I'm equally grateful that my daughter made her forever friends in the same neighborhood.

2. First BBQ of Spring. We were invited by two of our best friends to a BBQ on Saturday. They are also friends from our old neighborhood and I adore them. Our spouses get along, our kids get along... I  don't know how we got so lucky. I'm grateful that we were able to stuff ourselves silly with all things-grilled, laugh about nothing in particular and watch our children do the same. That friendship is such a gift.

3. Peel and Stick Flooring. You know how we've been working on the bathroom downstairs and that it hasn't been one of our favorite re-dos. It mostly had to do with how scared we were to see the water damage that had taken place over who-knows-how-long. What began as a paint-job, quickly became a huge overhaul to find and fix a leak. Everything with any capacity to be water-damaged had to be thrown out. The cabinet was soggy, the floor had curled up and there was more grossness than I care to mention on a Sunday. Thank goodness we found the problem (equally gross). We couldn't put down carpet or lay wood in the basement, so went with this really cool flooring from Home Depot. It wasn't too pricy and it looks like wood, except that it's not. It's this peel and stick stuff that you lay like stickers to the floor. The pieces overlap so the floor kind of "floats". The best part of this pseudo-linoleum is that it is highly water resistant and comes with a 25 year warranty. I do believe it will outlast me. Thank you, Big Orange Box Store.

4. My house. I sometimes am afraid of the outside world. I don't enjoy shopping on Saturdays or going to movie premiers that are practically sold-out. I am just as happy sitting with my family in this aging old brick haven. Scares like we had with the bathroom remind me again how easily something can be taken away. I had nightmares of black mold and sagging support beams; of wet concrete or cracked sub floors. We do not live in a cookie-cutter house. We do not live in a McMansion, or anything resembling "new or shiny."It's an old house with aluminum wiring that badly needs a new roof and windows that don't whistle when the wind blows. I write lots of blog posts on the different ways we try to fix it up, I know. It has great bones and was built by people we loved. People who aren't alive anymore; people I talk to when I'm repairing something. "Oh 'so-and-so, ' Why did you choose to put the wall here and why isn't it square?" or  "Hey, 'so-and-so',  Make sure I don't get electrocuted when I touch this wire..." It goes on and on. The point is, I genuinely love this house; as much as you can love something that doesn't breathe. I know like everything else, that it might not be standing forever. We live in a time of economic uncertainty..We live on a fault line and/or  I run too many appliances all at once... But for now, I put my babies to sleep every night in this home. I read novels in its corners. I watch the sun stream in when it's cold outside from the living room windows. I create down in that silly craft room and sometimes, I cook in its kitchen... I will never take any of it for granted.

5. At this very minute, I am grateful for my five senses.  I'm looking at this screen and feeling the keys as I click out all of my rambling thoughts. I can hear the whoosh of "light sabers" and smell buttery microwave popcorn. I am upstairs in my room and the man and our youngest are enjoying some episode of "Star Wars" down in the living room.

It is Sunday night, and all is well.

Have a wonderful evening, friends.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 32 of Forty - Basement Bathroom Update

Today, the man and I continued our project on the downstairs bathroom. Those of you that follow the blog will remember that last weekend we tore out just about everything from the room with the exception of the bath tub. After some sanding and painting, we were ready to start on installing the floor. I will share more pictures when it is all done, but here is a shot of the man hard at work. So far, so good.

 Happy Saturday, friends!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 31 of Forty: Wild and crazy mom..

Congratulations to Ann W. who won yesterday's comment contest. Something is on its way for you!!!

Today's post is a quiz:

What does one do after a day of teaching 100+ elementary students about sentence fluency?

Would they:

A. Go out for drinks?

B. Go out with their main squeeze to catch "The Hunger Games"?

C. Invite friends over for dinner?

D. Jump in the shower, put on their jammies and color the junk out of a Super Hero Squad Activity book with their very favorite student?

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Crayons and Coloring books rock, man!

What's your silly stress-reliever?

Happy Friday night, friends!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 30 of Forty- Who am I today?

 Hello friends.

I jut wrote the longest post of my life that didn't save. It was about my identity crisis and why I left teaching. I'm not lying when I say I'm devastated about it.  (I have no business teaching small children with the language I just used, anyway.)

What to do? The ironic thing is I actually have to teach tomorrow, so that heartfelt post will have to wait.

Dang. (Not even close to the words I spoke!)

Okay. Here is what I need you to do. Leave me a list of 5+ identities you hold at this point in your life. Most of us have a million, I know. But tell me anyway. I'm going to give away something to one of you. Maybe that will help me feel better.

Maybe not.


Here's my list:

1. Mom
2. Wife
3. shellybean employee
4. Teacher
5. Chocolate taste-tester (goes hand-in-hand with Pouter-Extraordinaire)
6. Blog writer

Happy Friday-Cant-Get-Here-Soon-Enough, friends!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 29 of 40: Student Story of the day..

"We just got back from a field trip to the Nature Center. There were all these cool animals and we learned about wetlands and caves and birds AND turtles! Tomorrow we're going snowshoeing up in the mountains and my dad is going to be a parent volunteer....Friday is going to be "hat day" and that's when you come to our class and teach writing. AND I had pizza for lunch! You know what Mrs. M? It's a REALLY good time to be a kid". -A., age 10.

Ah, to be young again.

Happy Wednesday, friends

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 28 of Forty: Twinkies for lunch.

Me: (walking from the kitchen to the living room with two Hostess treats in my hands)  "Hey, Oldest Child. Look at these Twinkies. They have six holes instead of three. See? There are three on the top and three on the......."

Daughter: (Sliding into the hallway on her socks and grabbing one of the Twinkies from me.)  "Shhhhhhhhhh! Mom! Don't taunt the Twinkie Makers! " Sliding back into the living room with her treat, she finishes her words of wisdom. "NEVER question why there might be extra cream filling OR where it may have come from. Geesh!"

How blessed can I be with such quality mother-daughter bonding?

Thank you, Wonder bread Store with half-off boxes of Twinkies. And Chocolate Cupcakes. And Ho-Hos.
I shall never question the mechanics of your cream filling again.

You know I'm going to ask. What's your favorite Hostess food? If you don't eat the kind of processed foods that don't have expiration dates, I'll have to ask you not to participate at this time :)

Happy Tuesday, friends :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 27 of Forty: I'm sorry, did I offend you?


I was talking with two of my friends this week who both told me stories about people who had offended them, to their faces...but did it with a smile. The offending words weren't outright cruel, but were arranged in such a way that feelings were hurt.

It got me thinking, do people say these unkind things in Shakespearean fashion where the person affected will be hurt, but in a way that isn't blatant? Or are people so caught up in their own worlds that they don't realize they've hurt another with their words? Does being unkind give people power? Is there insecurity involved?

Both of these friends are wonderful women. Both of the comments were backhanded "compliments". Both of the situations made me really angry. I hate seeing the people I care about be so hurt. The sad thing is that I hear more and more about it from different women everyday. Maybe we've become desensitized to other's feelings. Maybe it's just me who is overly sensitive...

So I have to ask you, when was the last time someone hurt your feelings with their words? Was it on purpose? Did you call them on it? How did you deal with it?

Let me give you some examples of things that have been said to me lately. (With a smile of course!)

I. You've lost weight. You look SO much better than you did when you were teaching!

2. Wow. You're pretty lucky that your husband LETS you stay home. What do you do with all that time to yourself? I would go crazy if I didn't have anything to do all day..

3. Why are you so tired? I thought you weren't working anymore.

4. Have you been sick? Because I know people who are dying, so it really can't be that bad, right?

Yeah, those are just a few. I held back my OWN words in those encounters. Lucky me, I heard two of those comments in ONE conversation. Those of you that know me should be both really proud that I kept quiet AND extremely surprised that I didn't get myself arrested.

Happy Kind Monday, friends :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 26 of Forty: Sunday Five

Hello friends! I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. I can't believe it's already Sunday but, I never can.  This was one of those weekends where I think we'll all be grateful to be back in the swing of things at work and school. The man and I dug a little too deep into the bathroom downstairs and found a host of things that genuinely need to be fixed. There is a huge difference between redecorating and finding major things that need to be replaced..This makeover is going to take a bit longer than the rest. The silver lining here is that we caught a few issues before they became catastrophes. Yay us. :)

Here are my thankful five for the week.

1. The man's parents joined us for breakfast (and good conversation) on Saturday morning and then took the kids to overnight with them. The two boys love to sleepover, so they ended up having a really nice time. I am grateful in a million ways that my children have family close-by. Nothing is better than grandparent love, and you know- anyone who loves my kids, my husband AND me? Well that is both AMAZING and very appreciated.

2. I'm grateful for the technology that connected me for a bit with my nephew, who lives in the Mitten.  He turned 3 yesterday. I pouted over the fact that I couldn't be there. I was able to call him though and wish him a happy day. The man and my kids were able to post birthday wishes to him on my sister's Facebook page. At the end of the evening, I got a text video (is that what it's called?) of my nephew, sitting on his bed and thanking me for a gift I ordered for him online. All thanks to technology. You will not hear me saying that often, but in this case, it made me feel present with that little guy- right where I wanted to be.

3. I'm thankful that I became Facebook friends with my recently widowed grandfather. It makes keeping up with him easier. It's been a beautiful thing seeing my whole family send him so much love. Plus, how many children can say they are FB friends with their Great-Grandfather? My daughter now can :)

4. I'm grateful for the sounds my washer and dryer make when they're finished with their cycles. It's a pain to sort, load, wash, dry, fold AND put away all of those clothes, but I think back to all of the years we trudged back and forth to the laundromat, and am so happy to have a set of my own. I remember telling my mother-in-law that when I got my first washer, I sat and watched two loads of laundry swish and spin in front of me. It was as good as any movie because it was all mine.

5. Sunday Night Special. I'm thankful for the tradition my husband brought to the family. It means that on Sunday nights, dinner is up to you. The kids eat ramen noodles or cereal. The man eats Mac and Cheese or leftovers and I eat, well, whatever is left in the cookie jar. It's glorious and I highly recommend it to any family doing the "Uh-Oh, tomorrow is Monday and I still have 27 things to do!" dance. I believe this evening, I'll partner up with Rice Krispies and some Vanilla Wafers.

Happy Sunday Evening, friends :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 25 of Forty: What are you doing NOW?

I can't talk long. It's Saint Patrick's Day and the kids are staying overnight at their grandparent's house. I remember the days when this would only signal a great party with friends and spirits..but... well, we're old, people. The man and I have instead decided to gut our basement bathroom.

Good times. Hey, at least the bathroom is GREEN. That counts for something, right?

Wish us luck trying to put it all back together.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, friends :)

What are your plans this evening?
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