getting ready for AVID Summer Institute 2016

if you're off to AVID Summer Institute, check out the blog 
post I wrote with the fabulous Jonathan Petrick.  
We've got some tips for you and your team...

I met Melodee as a participant at last year’s AVID Summer Institute (SI), and immediately, we began sharing ideas. We talked about our first SI experience of feeling overwhelmed, but energized, and began brainstorming our list of ‘musts’ that would remind us and support others who will be attending AVID Summer Institute 2016.

AVID SI is like the Olympics of professional development for educators—it’s quite an experience. It’s also a time to reflect and plan as we work with colleagues to guide our students toward college and career readiness.

If you are one of the almost 40,000 educators attending one of the 12 AVID Summer Institutes around the country, you’ll want to take note of the advice that follows. As they say in the AVID world, “There’s always something to learn,” so veterans and newbies…listen up! Melodee has some great advice for you.
click HERE to continue reading...



paleo jalapeno cornbread

this paleo jalapeno cornbread is yummy! 
check out The Wicked Spatula 
for the recipe HERE 
we paired it with THIS Lemon Rosemary Chicken recipe,
some veggies, and iced herbal tea- what a yummy spring dinner! 


pallet sign

a few years ago I made this sign for the kids' bathroom...
the kids are growing up and moving away to college 
so with just a few littles at home I decided to update the bathroom a bit....

so first, here's what I did with the sign....a little chalkboard paint, and whalla...
ok, so I originally tried to paint the pallet boards white, 
but the original "splish splash" kept popping through....so chalkboard paint it was....
and a battery powered light string from Kirkland to brighten up the hallway area

and the bathroom, 
ah-thanks Target for such cute decor....
this wall hanging is just as darling as some I've picked up 
by handmade artists on Etsy....  
I found this stag head on Amazon, but 
(towels from, ya guessed it, Target)

the shower curtain was an Anthro knock off I made a few years ago
(it took a just few hours to stitch up) and it has held up 
so well! I throw it in the washer with some 
oxy-clean and it stays super bright-white.... 


Spend $50 and save $10 on Home decor with promo code HOME. Valid 4/3-4/9


chalkboard lettering

it's been many years that chalk paint has been applied 
to walls, old pictures, frames, etc... around our house... 

I don't think the trend is ending any time soon- 

click HERE to read about their book "The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering" 
and find it online at Barnes and Noble  (out of stock at Amazon right now) 


cacti in the bathroom

a little greenery in the bathroom looks so nice- 
lately I've had bad luck with ferns 
(which usually do well with the moistness of a bathroom)

soooo- time to try cactus in the bathroom~

this guy was in near the tub and just didn't do well with the humidity :( 
any suggestions on greenery that does well in your bathroom area? 


oh target

ok, I officially have a problem- it happens when I head to Target...
went in for milk and left with milk and sandals

you can find them online HERE 
(oh, and the basket happens to be from Target as well)


Save 5% and get Free Shipping at Target - Apply for a REDcard


paleo macaroons

my sister brought me some delish paleo macaroons...
and they taste like the real deal! 
if you are on a paleo diet or just looking for a healthy "cookie" recipe
look no further.....try this one HERE 


Spring and Summer Scentsy

are you ready for some new Scentsy products? 
the Spring and Summer Catalog is out and it's amazing :) 

happy spring!



smores donuts

we've been on a donut kick around here lately, 
and for our last work potluck I thought there had 
to be a way to make a dessert out of donuts...

lo and behold, there were some great ideas on Pinterest 
Check out S'mores Donuts here 
original post via  TheMerryThought

so, just replace the traditional graham cracker with a donut
sliced in half.....
add your favorite s'mores goodies
(of course try something new like salted caramel chocolates 
or peanut butter cups)
warm up marshmallows over a fire pit and enjoy a new twist on s'mores! 

because I was going to be serving these during a potluck in the middle of the day
I prepped the dessert the night before (just cut the donuts in half and stuff 
with chocolate and marshmallows). 
I also halved the donuts because they are super sweet, 
then wrapped them in a piece of wax paper. 
I warmed them up in the microwave (4 halves at a time for 10 seconds) 
served them in the original donut box....
it was pure happiness :) 


for the love of rugs

we recently ditched the carpet and installed some gorgeous 
hand-scraped hardwood floors
*they are amazing and my favorite thing about our house! 

however, there are a few spaces that call for a rug...
in our living room area we opted for this rug from Overstock.com 
a rug pad is necessary for this rug if you are going to place it 
on a hardwood or tile surface....
the colors are both rich and muted and they tie in nicely 
with the little pop of teal in the ottoman

the other area rug in our downstairs living space is under the dining room table
~originally we had a beautiful woven sisal rug here, 
but our cat was wrecking havoc on that rug- it was just too tempting for her!~
(also from Overstock.com)
this rug stays well in place without a pad, 
and the colors work really well with the hardwood floors
although we don't miss the wall to wall carpet, 
it is nice to have a beautiful rug in these spaces :) 



will work for donuts

my AVID students seemed a little "apathetic" recently, 
so the AVID tutors and I met to discuss ways to motivate the kids- 
How do you inspire motivation? How can you get kids to turn in their work 
and be intrinsically motivated? 

We came up with a little competition between our tutorial groups-
we created incentive charts grouped by tutorial groups, 
recorded all scores for TRFs and Binder Checks for about 5 weeks...
it was a lot of work for the tutors, but the kids (middle school kids) LOVED 
seeing their scores and held each other accountable.  
5 weeks seemed like a long stretch, but I wanted admin's support and 
needed the students to give it some grit and really put forth more effort. 

The winning group received:
*Donuts provided by the teacher from our popular local donut shop 
*One complete free binder check coupon 
*Free points for the day's TRF (that they would be excused from)
*One whole class period off from work to celebrate in the hallway with their group and the tutor
*Potluck style party- the winning group planned a potluck (they were able to bring anything to contribute to the donuts- and man did they bring some goodies!)

I've never seen kids work so hard, for donuts, and a little party....our scores 
rose and students arrived prepared for the tutorial sessions...it was amazing! 

we are getting ready for round 2, progress reports in 6 weeks, so time to 
work for some donuts :) 


wood plank wall (shiplap style) bathroom refresh

we took on a little weekend DIY....
the big builder-grade mirror in our master bath had to go...
here it is in all its glory with the vanity lights and all...
luckily it came down pretty easily (we envisioned shards of mirror all over the place)...
the wood is just pine planks from Lowe's stained with a 
cheesecloth and a can of Watco Danish Oil 

we changed out the vanity lights with these 

we are so happy with these mirrors from Hobby Lobby (on sale right now) 

the cabinets were a builder grade veneer wood finish~
then added some drawer pulls and knobs 

whalla! easy weekend bathroom refresh :)
linking up with Thought from Alice Sunday's at Home
Thoughts from Alice



peanut butter cookie lasagna

if you're looking for a crowd-pleasing, easy, delish dessert....
I found this recipe on Pinterest from hugsandcookiesxoxo
and I'll certainly be making this again! 
All you need is: 
1 box of Nutter Butter cookies
1 tub of Cool Whip
1 package vanilla pudding (prepared and chilled) 
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (melted in microwave) 
peanut butter cups (I used a bag of mini ones, but a few packages of regular sized ones would be easier to chop up) 

line an 8X8 pan with Nutter Butter cookies to cover the bottom of pan
drizzle with melted peanut butter
spread 1/2 of the vanilla pudding over the top
spread with 1/2 of the Cool Whip
sprinkle crushed up peanut butter cups over the top 
repeat layering cookies, melted peanut butter, vanilla, Cool Whip....
then top with more crushed peanut butter cups.... 
*I warmed up some hot fudge and drizzled that over the final layer just for fun
chill for at least 24 hours to the cookies can soften up.... 

for reference in the picture above, I tripled the recipe and made a 13X11
 pan for school and a smaller 8X8 pan for home....this dessert is super rich so a 
little serving goes a long way if you need to feed a crowd!


new coffee bar

I go back and forth with the idea of a coffee bar...
for now, it's back...due to some wire baskets from Costco
which threw off the whole counter-top mojo for me...

I found this console table at Kirkland with chalkboard faced drawers...
eeeks cuteness and organization all in one place 

these are the wire baskets that started it all...
hey, it may all move again, it's what I do...but for now....
we have a nice-organized coffee station :) 

happy Wednesday! 


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