Momma B’s Lasagna

It’s finally Friday! (Am I the only one who sings that song regularly on Fridays? I sure hope not!)

I am feeling a bit sore today because yesterday after running a mile for warm-up, my friend Lindsay and I tried a new NikeFit workout called “Dynamic Kettlebell” — it was intense!

Dynamic KettlebellI absolutely love the NikeFit app! This workout was 30 minutes long and kept us engaged the whole time. It worked our legs, butts, abs, and arms in different ways and I am definitely feeling it today! I just hope the soreness doesn’t stick around so I’m ready to go for my 5k race tomorrow. It’s my first ever race and I’m a little nervous; I am in no way a runner but I do love a challenge and I’m excited to participate in this event!

After my workout I was super hungry so I came home and started cooking up a delicious and filling meal — my mom’s famous lasagna! This was an absolute favorite of mine (growing up I requested it for my birthday meal every year) and it is always a crowd pleaser. I thought I’d share it with you today so you too can appreciate my mom’s amazingness. 🙂

Momma B’s Lasagna

Momma B's Lasagna IngredientsIngredients for meat sauce:

-1 pound ground beef

-1 Tbsp parsley flakes

-1 Tbsp basil

-1 1/2 tsp salt

-2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce

-12 oz tomato paste (I use the kind with no salt added; if yours has salt, I recommend not adding the full amount of salt listed above)

Ingredients for cottage cheese layer:

-3 c. cottage cheese

-2 beaten eggs

-2 tsp salt (I usually do a little less)

– 1/2 tsp pepper

-2 Tbsp parsley flakes

Extra ingredients:

-9 lasagna noodles (I use brown rice pasta noodles)

-1 lb mozzerella cheese

-parsley to sprinkle on top

Directions:

1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet and add the rest of the ingredients once you drain the meat. Simmer the mixture until the sauce is thick (approx. 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Momma B's Lasagna Meat Sauce2. While the sauce is thickening, boil the lasagna noodles. As the noodles are boiling, pre-heat the oven to 375.

3. Mix together the ingredients listed above for the “cottage cheese layer.” (Not gonna lie, this mixture doesn’t look very appealing but just trust me, it will be worth it!)

Momma B's Lasagna Cottage Cheese Layer4. Rinse the lasagna noodles in a colander. By this time, the sauce should be close to finished.

5. Place 3 noodles on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Next, put half of the cottage cheese mixture on top. It’s okay if the mixture doesn’t actually cover all the noodles; the meat sauce will even it out. (I use a spatula to smooth each layer).

Momma B's Lasagna Layer 16. Add half of the meat sauce on top of the cottage cheese and cover with a layer of mozzerella.

Momma B's Lasagna Layer 2

Momma B's Lasagna Layer 37. Repeat steps 5-6.

8. Top the lasagna with the final three noodles and cover with mozzerella. Sprinkle a bit of parsley on top.

Momma B's Lasagna Top Layer9. Cover the dish with baking foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Momma B's Lasagna Finished10. Enjoy!!

Momma B's Lasagna Slice***

Loved styling my new Stella & Dot bracelet into my casual Friday look!

striped cardigan, long necklace, jeans, nude pumpsCardigan: Bought at consignment store (similar here) ~ Lace Shirt: Express (exact old, similar here) ~ Jeans: American Eagle (similar here) ~ Necklace: Express (old) ~ Renegade Bracelet: Stella Dot (exact here) ~ Arrow Bracelet: Ebay (no longer available)

The after-effects of a Juice Cleanse

Ugh. Today has not been the most fun of days.

After three days of nothing but fruits and veggies (whether in whole form or in juice), my body is not adjusting back to my “normal” food well.

This morning I had a bowl of cereal and skim milk, the same thing I’ve had every morning for the last several months. Normally I love starting my day out with cereal but today I didn’t feel that great afterwards. I kind of missed my refreshing morning juice! Tomorrow I’m definitely going to start my day off with some nice fresh juice.

For lunch I had yogurt with granola, like a normal lunch. I didn’t feel too bad after that, but then I made a mistake. Remember that delicious looking birthday cake my co-worker had yesterday? She saved me a piece and after eating it, I felt horrible. There was so much butter and sugar in it that I felt like sludge afterwards.

This has really made me realize how much food impacts your energy level and regular functioning. Even though I’m off my cleanse, I still need to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies into my everyday eating. And I really need to be careful about the amount of artificial sweeteners I eat. Butter, sugar, chocolate, and oils are things that suck my energy — and they’re not good for me anyways so limiting my intake of them can only be a good thing! 🙂

Tonight I’m making dinner and I think a nice fresh salad sounds like the perfect addition to the meal! I love that I’m actually craving veggies now!

***

Today’s outfit retreated back into winter layers and colors because it SNOWED last night and is cold again. I’m officially done with cold weather!

black cardigan, purple tank, black pinstripe pantsBlack cardigan: Express (exact old, similar here and here) ~ Purple tank: Express (exact old) ~ Black cami layered underneath: Express (exact here, similar here) ~ Pinstripe pants: Express (exact old, similar here) ~ Black beaded necklace: Premier Jewelry (exact old, similar here)

Wedding Wednesday: Operation Honeymoon!

First and foremost, today marks the last day of my 3-day juice cleanse!!

In the first two days of the cleanse, I made a huge juice in the morning and split it between breakfast and lunch. Yesterday, however, I was craving some change so I made a smaller juice for breakfast and then a different juice for lunch.

My breakfast juice was DELICIOUS! I’m going to call this my Peaches & Cream Morning Juice 🙂

Peaches & Cream Breakfast Juice

Ingredients:

-1 large handful of kale

-2 peaches

-10-12 strawberries

-1 banana

-a sprinkling of chia seeds (I added these to the juice afterwards)

This was probably one of my favorite juices so far — I stuck it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before leaving the house and it froze just enough to taste like a delicious smoothie! YUM!

For lunch, I made a greener juice.

Green Lunch Juice

Ingredients:

-2 handfuls spinach

-1 handful kale

-1/2 cucumber (I am not a huge fan of the cucumber taste in juice and I didn’t want it to be overwhelming. If you love cucumber, you could use the whole thing)

-1 pear

-1 apple (wish I had green apples for a true “green” juice!)

This juice was pretty good as well, although not as delectable as the morning juice. By lunchtime, I was just craving real food! While I wasn’t hungry (an 8 oz. juice is actually very filling!) I missed the texture of different types of foods. It didn’t help that it was my co-worker’s birthday and I had to stare at this all day long:

Temptation!

Yeah. It was brutal! I had to watch everyone eat it while munching on carrot sticks at my desk.

Yet another carrot

Pathetic, I know.

After a quick workout at the gym, it was time to head home and freshen up for DINNER. A real live dinner!! We went over to our friends’ house where they had prepared a feast!

First meal!!

My friend Kristen was the one who initially suggested doing the cleanse and we were both salivating watching her husband prepare lemon alfredo chicken pasta and perfectly steamed broccoli! This meal was perfection and it was definitely worth the wait!

A few tips for anyone considering a juice fast:

-Listen to your body! I tried a 3 mile run the first day of the cleanse and that was a mistake — my body was still adjusting at that point and I wish I would have done a lighter workout.

-Incoroporate whole fruits and veggies. I never would have survived on just juice so I munched on bananas, strawberries, and carrots in between meals.

-Do it with a partner! Kristen and I both admitted we would have cheated many times had we not known there was someone there to keep us accountable. We were both really proud of ourselves for sticking with it and not cheating or giving up!

While I’m actually glad I had this experience, I think I’ll stick to juicing just once a day for the time being. 🙂

Wedding Wednesday: Operation Honeymoon!

About this time last year, my workout routine was getting more and more intense to prepare for the wedding! There are few things more motivating to get your butt to the gym than knowing you’re going to stand in front of 200+ people in a form-fitting dress and have pictures in it that last a lifetime! Also motivating is knowing you’ll frolic on the beach in a bikini the next week on your honeymoon. Needless to say, I was working hard! I found that having an actual plan for my workout helped me adequately rotate muscle groups and make sure I was getting a good mix of strength training and cardio. I even created a workout chart I called “Operation Honeymoon” to help motivate me! I wrote down everything I wanted to do each day (i.e. Monday: 60 minute kickboxing class; Tuesday: 2 mile run, 30 minutes arms strength training; Wednesday: 30 minutes on bike, 30 minutes legs strength training, etc). My plan was for 6 days a week and I tried to keep mixing up what I did so I never got into a workout rut. I was really thankful for all my hard work once my wedding day came! There is nothing quite like feeling fabulous and fit on your wedding day! 🙂

If you are getting married and want to get in shape (or just want to have a healthy workout plan), I highly recommend created an actual physical plan of what you want to do each day. It helps keep you accountable and also gives you and idea of what you need to work on each time you go to the gym!

***

Today’s outfit was filled with bright colors because it’s finally sunny and warm! (Never mind that it’s supposed to snow tomorrow…)

coral shirt with turquoise jewelry

 V-neck shirt: Old Navy (similar here) ~ Lace cami: Express (similar here and here) ~ Khaki pants: Maurices (similar here) ~ Leopard Flats: Target (exact here) ~ Necklace: Premier Jewelry (exact old)

Juice Cleanse Day Two!

Day two of the juice cleanse is on! So far I’m feeling pretty good, but yesterday I ran 3.25 miles (I’m running a 5k on Saturday) and by the end I was NOT feeling very well. I’m not sure this juice cleanse provides enough calories (and possibly not enough protein) for such strenuous exercise. I think today I’ll just stick to a light workout.

Last night’s dinner was the first real challenge for me because before I made my juice, I cooked a huge pot of chili for Justin. OH MY GOSH it was ridiculously tempting. Luckily, I made enough chili for leftovers so I won’t have to cook again tonight and be tempted again.

03-10 DinnerI had to throw in a bunch of strawberries for something to chew. The juice was yummy but I just needed something “extra!”

My dinner juice consisted of:

-2 handfuls of spinach

-1 banana

-1 apple

-4-5 pieces of bok choy (kind of a mix between lettuce and celery if that makes sense at all)

Morning Beet Juice

Morning Beet Juice Ingredients :: simplifythechaos.comMy juice this morning consisted of:

-2 apples

-4 clementines

-1/4 pineapple (half of what is shown)

-handful of kale

-2 large handfuls of spinach

-1 beet (peeled)

This juice is also really good but the beet kind of gives it what my husband calls “a dirt taste.” I have to agree that the beet significantly changes the taste but it was good variety to add! I had half the juice for breakfast and half for lunch with a banana and carrots as snacks. Tonight I want to try a juice with lots of greens–we’ll see how that goes. I’m halfway through this juice cleanse!!

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Today’s outfit was simple with a touch of sparkle!

cardigan, pencil skirt, statement necklace. teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com  Cardigan: Old Navy (similar here) ~ Lace cami: Express (similar here and here) ~ Grey pencil skirt: Laundry by Shelli Segal (similar here and here) ~ Grey pumps: Bandolino (similar here) ~ Necklace: Purple Peridot “Crystal Sparkler” (exact here)

Let the Juice Cleanse begin

Well, Daylight Savings Time is officially kicking my booty. Last night Justin and I thought we had changed all the clocks, but we forgot one crucial one in our living room and by the time we realized it, it was already way past our bedtime (yes, we have a bedtime). Needless to say, that led to accidentally sleeping in WAY too long this morning so it’s been a bit of a rough start for me with the time change!

Juice Cleanse

I have really enjoyed the juices that Justin and I have been trying lately; it’s been fun to come up with different combinations! Yesterday I was talking to one of my good friends and she expressed a lot of interest in doing a 3-day juice cleanse. Even though I initially said I had no interest in a juice fast of any kind, she convinced me to give it a try with her. We started today and so far, so good! I made an extra big juice for breakfast and brought half with me to school for lunch.

Morning Burst JuiceI had to drink it on the way to work because of my super hurried morning!

I made my Morning Burst Juice again but added an extra apple and pineapple. It was a pretty frothy juice (I blame the banana) but very yummy! I enjoyed having another one for lunch as well. In addition to the juices, I packed lots of carrot sticks and a banana; there is NO way I’d be able to survive on only three juices! I plan on making a snack juice after my run this afternoon and then a dinner juice later in the evening. It will be hard to cook Justin dinner and watch him eat it, but I really want to try to make it through this cleanse!

***

It was finally above 60 today and it’s sunny so it feels like spring is really on its way! I wanted to pick fun springy colors for my outfit and here’s what I came up with (open-toed shoes!! Yay!) Details on wear page.

Orange stripes, green statement necklace, navy ankle pants, orange strappy heelsSweater: Express

Pants: Target

Shoes: Bakers

Necklace: Bluetique

Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Party

So yesterday after school I had a meeting and then Justin and I had friends over for dinner. No time to blog! Therefore, “Wedding Wednesday” is happening on a Thursday. And in my own little blog world, there is nothing wrong with that. 🙂 So let’s get to it!

Wedding Wednesday: The Wedding Party!

Since the last two Wedding Wednesdays have focused on what Justin and I wore, I decided to keep that theme going and discuss the bridal party!

From day one of planning, Justin and I knew that we wanted our wedding to be FUN — our goal was for the whole day to just be a celebration! Nothing super fancy and stiff because that’s just not us. We wanted our wedding party to be comfortable and happy so we gave them a lot of freedom with their outfits. I did this mostly because I have been in a few weddings and I’ve learned a few things. For starters, while it is a HUGE honor to be part of this special day in someone’s life, it is really kind of annoying to have to shell out $200 for a dress/suit you hate and will never wear again. Nothing against the bride or groom, but if their style is not yours, it’s hard to spend lots of money on clothes that aren’t “you.” In addition to that, everyone in our party was either a young professional just starting a career, starting graduate school, or still in college (a.k.a. BROKE). Our wedding took place in my hometown and many had to take off work and pay for travel just to get there. We didn’t want to put a financial burden on anyone so letting them pick their outfits ensured they not only felt comfortable in what they wore but also spent an amount of money that was comfortable to them.

Here are the results (all photos copyright the incredible Rothwell Photography):

Copyright Rothwell Photography

I absolutely LOVED how everything came together! I’m so glad everyone put some personality into their outfits.

While I was very pleased with how everything turned out, there are some things you should consider if you’re giving your wedding party freedom in choosing their own outfits. Here are my top tips:

1. Give your attendants clear guidelines. For my girls, I told them to pick a knee-length navy dress. Since my family is fairly conservative, I asked that hemlines be no more than one inch above the knee. I did not care about sleeves/strapless/neckline other than to ask that there not be cleavage. I also sent them pictures of dresses I liked as examples and a few of them ended up buying dresses that I sent as examples. SHOW THEM PICTURES! They might think they know what you’re looking for but they could be on the wrong page — make sure they see the type of overall look you’re going for with your wedding.  I also told them to pick nude shoes that they would be comfortable in (flats, heels, sandals, etc) but asked that they not be flip flops.

Copyright Rothwell Photography

For the guys, I asked them to wear khaki dress pants and brown shoes (we provided the shirt and suspenders). I did not care about color or style, although in hindsight I wish I had told them not to wear pants with pleats because that ended up looking a little strange with suspenders. For the tie, I sent them a link to the Bows N Ties website because they organize their ties into color palettes. I asked them to choose a tie from a specific page that they liked and would want to wear again.

Copyright Rothwell Photography

2. Make sure to approve of all outfits . . . I had my girls text me a picture of their chosen dress before they bought it just to make sure it was okay. They were all really willing to do this because no one wanted to stick out by being the oddball in a dress that looked “off” from the party. I didn’t ask them to, but most also texted a pic of the shoes to make sure they got approval. We also approved all the guys ties before they bought them to make sure there weren’t a ton of duplicates or one that clashed.

3. . . . but be flexible with individual styles. One of our ushers felt that he didn’t look quite right in thicker ties and wanted a skinny tie that was not offered on the website we sent. We told him to order one he liked (but just double check with us before buying to make sure the color worked) and felt comfortable in. Be willing to consider all requests, and think about what is really important. You might not love lace, but if your sister picks a dress with lace that she loves and is happy in and it fits in with the rest of the dresses, that might be worth letting slide even if it’s not your favorite. If you feel yourself wanting to control the dresses on a micro-detail level, letting your attendants pick their dress might not be the right move for you.

Copyright Rothwell Photography

4. If you don’t want to give up complete control, consider allowing attendants to choose details. For example, consider a dress that can be worn multiple ways (strapless, one shoulder, spaghetti strap) to let each girl wear what they’re comfortable in. Or allow them to choose their jewelry or shoes even if they’re all wearing the same dress. I bought my girls each a piece of jewelry, but I let them pick it out so it’d be something they’d wear again and again and think of our wedding!

5. Make sure it all “fits” by choosing a few details to keep consistent. Giving too much freedom can look chaotic or keep your party from looking like a cohesive unit. For example, if you just want attendants to wear a blue dress with no other guidelines, they might all wear something totally different and not look like they belong together. I’ve seen weddings where you can’t even tell who is in the party because the outfits are all so different. If that’s your style, go for it! For me, I wanted my party to still look coordinated. I had the girls all in dresses of the same length and the guys in the same shirt and suspenders. While our ushers wore white shirts and our groomsmen green, their looks still coordinated well together! Because there was so much variation in style of dress, shade of khaki pant, and style of tie, the party needed a few key details to be the same in order to “fit” together.

Copyright Rothwell Photography

I hope you have found this list helpful! I had many compliments from guests (and even some people who weren’t at our wedding but saw pictures) on how great our party looked and several attendants commented on how much they appreciated getting to choose a style that they liked and would wear again . . . AND that fit their budget! I highly recommend considering letting your attendants in on some of the decision making — I’m really glad we did!

Previous Wedding Wednesday Posts:

The Suit

The Dress

The Planning

My #1 Advice

 ***

I was feeling polka dots for today’s outfit so I kept piling on the dots! Details to available pieces on Wear page.

teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.comSweater: New York & Company

Blouse: New York & Company

Skirt: Kohls

Tights: Express

Pumps: Maurices

Necklace: Forever 21

Outfit catch-up + Juice!

Hi y’all!

Another day off of school due to snow (I don’t know about you, but I am READY for spring to get here!) which I spent cleaning, doing laundry, and . . . napping. Not even a little bit ashamed about it either.

Morning Burst Juice

Today for breakfast Justin and I tried a new juice and we LOVED it! I am calling it my “morning burst” juice because it seriously gave me the perfect boost of energy to start my day! This is definitely going to make it into our regular rotation.

Ingredients:

-2-3 handfuls spinach

-1 banana (two if they are small)

-1 large apple

-1/4 pineapple

-1 pear

Morning Burst Juice Ingredients

So delicious! I added water to mine to make it less thick but Justin loves the thicker/frothier taste so he didn’t. We were both big fans!!

Morning Burst Juice

Outfit Catch-up

Since I’ve been horrible at blogging lately, here are my latest work outfits! Details to all available pieces can be found on the wear page. Enjoy!

teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.com

Kale in my kitchen

So, I’ve been terrible at blogging lately. All I can say is, life happens sometimes! As much as I love blogging, my life and relationships are so important to me and that will always take priority. The last week has been a busy one with work and other obligations; the free time I’ve had has been spent with my hubby and fur babies.  But now I’m back and I’m going to try to make a solid effort to be more consistent.

Juice!

Tomorrow I’ll do a re-cap post of all the outfits I’ve worn since my last post, but today I want to tell you about Justin and my latest adventure: juicing!

This all started with a friend recommending I watch the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” on Netflix. I just so happen to love food documentaries, so I watched right away. The movie really surprised me: it follows the journey of two men and their decision to do a 60-day juice fast to lose weight and get healthy. They end up dropping tons of pounds, going off medication, and becoming happier, healthier individuals. Both had really amazing transformations!

Now, Justin and I are relatively healthy people. In the fall I made a commitment to try to cook “cleaner” meals and we’ve stuck to that — we always choose whole grains and try to avoid refined, processed foods as much as possible. We eat fruits and veggies regularly and exercise several times a week. We don’t have tons of weight to lose or medications we want to get off of. So why juice?

Winter months tend to make me feel kind of “blah.” I can’t go outside as much ((especially because we just got ANOTHER snow storm)) and I feel my energy level dropping like crazy. After watching the documentary and talking to several friends about juicing, we decided to try it to see if it helped us feel more energized. We had no desire to do a juice fast, but we thought it’d be nice to incorporate juice into our meals.

We bought a juicer over the weekend and decided to get started right away! We checked out several recipes that appealed to us and hit up the grocery store to stock up on fruits and veggies. **Sidenote: There is KALE in my kitchen. K-a-l-e. I honestly didn’t even know what this stuff was up until a few months ago and never thought it would make it’s way into my kitchen. But it’s here! And so is something called bok choy. We’ll see how that one goes…

Juicer Juicer

We decided to try a simple juice for our first try. Carrots, celery, apples, and ginger!

First attempt

It. Was. HORRID.

That’s right. It was absolutely TERRIBLE. We each had one sip and had to dump the rest. We followed a recipe but the ginger was completely overwhelming — we used waaaaaay too much.

Not to be discouraged, we tried again today. We had a juice for breakfast this morning and then another one for lunch. Both were really yummy!

Juice success!

Justin was starving all day. He did not really feel fulfilled by the juice and was more than excited for a “real” meal for dinner. I didn’t feel overly hungry, but I did have a bit of a headache after lunch. This pretty much solidified our decision to not to an actual juice fast/cleanse. However, I do already feel more energy! At the gym today I ran two miles and spent an additional 15 minutes on the elliptical — I felt so good afterwards that I added strength training after all that cardio. It was awesome!

We’ve decided the best time for us to juice is in the morning. We want to start our day out right with lots of fruits and veggies, which will hopefully help us make better food choices throughout the day.

We are definitely looking forward to trying new recipes and I’ll be sure to share good ones with y’all!

***

Please be advised that I am not a dietician and you should consult your physician before attempting any diet or juice cleanse/fast. 

Teacher Tuesday: Fraction Practice

Hi y’all!

Thanks to a light dusting of snow this morning, I got to sleep in a bit! Love two-hour school delays! 🙂 I had time to get a gym session in before heading to school — I ended up being very glad for the calories I burned when I opened the lunch my hubby had prepared for me (thoughtful, huh?) and saw it included two packs of Fun Dip and a sucker. Definitely a sign that I need to go grocery shopping!

Teacher Tuesday

With all the school we have missed over the last two months, the classes I co-teach in have been focusing on getting caught up and back on track with our yearly pacing guides; therefore, I haven’t done nearly as much remediation in math and have mostly just helped give extra support to the students in class. Now that we are back on track I am back doing remediation of old topics. We’re currently reviewing fractions and I’ve come up with a few fun ways to engage the students in fraction practice.

Fraction Practice1. Simplify fractions with playing cards.

For this activity, I had the students get with a partner and each place a pencil longways on their desk. Each set of partners had a deck of cards (you could use a half-deck or a smaller amount of cards if you need it to be divided amongst several students.) The partners would take turns drawing two cards. I instructed them to put the larger card on the bottom (Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King = 14, Joker = wild) and the smaller one on top. They then used an Expo Marker ((see from this post—it wipes right off!)) to simplify the fraction. If it was not possible to simplify, they just re-wrote the fraction. The partners had to check one another’s work before they could draw two more cards and create new fractions.

Variations

1. Have them put the first card they draw on top and the second card on bottom regardless of which is bigger. This may result in an improper fraction, which they can change to a mixed number.

2. Turn it into a game. When partners check one another, the students keep their cards if they simplified correctly. If one partner catches a mistake the other made, that partner gets to keep the cards. At the end of the deck, whomever has the most cards wins.

3. Change the values of the face cards. This is an easy way to differentiate instruction for learners at different levels. For a struggling group, face cards can be eliminated or simply assigned numbers under 10. For an advanced group, face cards can be assigned higher number with more multiples (24, 30, etc) to give the students an extra challenge.

4. Add operations! You can do this activity with the various operations (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) and students can show their work using the dry erase marker. See photo below for clarification!

Fraction 22. Use dominoes!

Even simpler than playing cards are dominoes! They come as fractions so it’s easy for the students to visualize the fractions. My students really loved getting to use dominoes and, of course, getting to work out problems on their desks. Ways you can incorporates dominoes include:

Practice simplifying.

Fraction 4You can have the students put the smaller number on the top if you don’t want improper fractions or you can have them just flip the domino and if it is improper, simplify it to a mixed number.

Add operations

Fraction 3  Fraction 6

Fraction 5You may want to encourage students to set up their dominoes to make simplifying easier. For example, with adding and subtracting try to find either the same denominator or ones where they can easily find a common denominator. For multiplication, encourage them to try to find “shortcuts” that help them.

The bottom line is, get creative! I have found students are WAY more willing to work if they can use manipulatives or get to try something they normally don’t get to do. These activities keep them engaged, help them practice, and are way more exciting than just another worksheet. Try something new! 🙂

Past Teacher Tuesdays

Picture Schedules

Desk Decorating

Dice Multiplication

Writing on Desks?

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Today’s outfit was includes some bright bold colors to contrast all this snow! Details and links to available pieces on wear page.

02-18 LookShirt: Express

Tank: Target

Skirt: Express

Tights: J. Crew

Shoes: Maurices

Necklace: Lia Sophia

Valentine’s + Roanoke Trip

Hi there!

I have been off the grid lately and it’s been great! Between Wednesday and Thursday of last week we got over a foot of snow so I had no school Thursday and Friday. I spent the whole time unplugged — just hanging out with the hubby and pups! It was great! I also did quite a bit of crafting for a Valentine’s Dinner I’m helping put on tonight (more details to come in a later post!) which was lots of fun.

Valentine’s Day

Justin and I tend to keep it fun and simple for Valentine’s Day.  We don’t like to spend a lot of money so we always try to find something to do that is inexpensive and involves spending a lot of time together.

Our V-Day date night involved a trip to the store to buy our favorite candies from childhood that we never allow ourselves to splurge on (cotton candy for him, cookie dough bites for me!) and we also got a “game.” Technically, we bought a bunch of dice but we ended up playing Yahtzee for hours with the dice. It was the perfect, fun way to celebrate with each other! (And cost less than $10–whoohoo!)

Inexpensive Valentine's Date NightIn addition, one night last week I came home from school to this awesome display:

Valentine's TableJustin had volunteered at a local nursing home to help make Valentines with the residents and he made one for me (in addition to cutting out a ton of paper hearts). He also had the table all set and ready to go! I loved it!

Roanoke: Center in the Square

After Justin was finished with classes on Friday we took off on a road trip to Roanoke, VA to visit a college buddy of J’s. We spent the weekend hanging out at a local dog park (our friends have a puppy named Charlie and all the dogs got along SO well!), checking out local restaurants, and exploring downtown Roanoke.

My favorite part of our downtown exploration was a science museum called Center in the Square. There was quite a long wait for our lunch spot so we decided to kill some time by walking across the street and checking out the museum. We didn’t have time to see every exhibit (they had TONS) but we made the most of the time we had!

We first checked out the seahorses. These creatures are so cool!

Seahorse Tank Seahorses have a difficult time navigating water and it was fun to watch them swim around!

SeahorseNext up were jellyfish. These are absolutely fascinating to see up close! The tank had lights that changed color, which made the jellyfish change looks — super awesome!

Jellyfish TankPossibly my favorite part of the aquarium was the giant fish tank. It had plenty of different fish, including “Dory” and “Nemo” (I just love that movie!) and was so beautiful.

Fish tankFish TankI could’ve sat and watched these fish all day! (PS- Did I mention all this aquarium viewing was FREE!? There is no charge for this part of the museum!!)

Next up, we bought admission tickets and went upstairs to the butterfly exhibit.

Center in the SquareCheck out this staircase leading upstairs! Sweet, huh?

Walking into the butterfly garden was like walking into a tropical paradise. It was super warm and humid and I felt like I was in the middle of the rainforest. It was awesome!

Butterfly GardenThere were over 300 butterflies fluttering about in the garden and it was so amazing to see all the different types! So many colors! It was difficult to snap pictures of them but I got a few good ones.

Butterfly Garden Butterfly Garden Butterfly GardenThe last one was my favorite!

There were small plates of fruit around the garden for the butterflies to eat in addition to the nectar from all the flowers.

Butterfly GardenThe whole experience was super fun and I wish we would have had more time to explore the museum. Just peeking in at all the other exhibits showed me that the museum has a LOT more to offer! All in all, I would highly recommend checking Center in the Square out if you are ever in Roanoke!

Have a wonderful Monday!

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Shades of black and gray for today’s outfit! Links to available pieces on the wear page.

teacher outfit blog :: simplifythechaos.comCardigan: Maurices

Blouse: New York & Company

Skirt: Via Ross

Tights: Express

Pumps: Maurices

Necklace: Purple Peridot