Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Few Things on a Thursday: Mrs. Tally is Missing!

  • This week has been such a whirlwind. First of all, it has been our Homecoming week on campus, which has included themed dress-up days. I love dressing up for weeks like this. Our first day was a character dress-up day, so my assistant and I teamed up as Ms. Nelson and Ms. Viola Swamp. I tried to play my part by waiting until after the bell rang to knock on the door, parade in the room, swat a desk with a ruler, and yell "Silence! Get out those arithmetic books!" I think most of my kids thought I was more humorous than scary. I could only hold the scowl for so long, until we all started laughing over it. It was such a fun way to start the week. What do you think of my mean face? Impressive, right? 

  • In other news, we are moving right along with an apples unit in our classroom. I hope to have several neat ideas to share with you in a lovely apples blog post soon. It has been hard to filter through the abundance of awesome apple activities out there! 
  • Quote of the week: "This is way funner than staying home. I don't get to do anything like this there."
I overheard one of my students make this statement earlier this week, and it just warmed my heart. I want my classroom to be a place to which my students want to come each day. Obviously, everyone has bad days from time to time, but as long as conversations like this are taking place somewhere in my classroom, I feel like I might be doing something right.

  • I apologize for the lack of quality posts this week. Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all... I hope you are having a wonderful week!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Oh, Monday.

Mondays are just hard, aren't they? It seems that weekends pass so quickly, and there you are, staring at Monday all over again. Tuesdays, I can handle. Wednesdays are sure to bring at least one reason to smile on "Hump Day," especially now that we have the notorious Geiko commercial to provide a little humor. By Thursday, things are looking up, and who lacks a reason to be happy on Friday? Weekends are surely good for the soul. Then, there are Mondays...

I find myself wondering this almost every Monday morning.
Original Source Unknown
I decided that I needed some motivation for my Monday mornings, so I'm capturing a few positive thoughts here. Maybe you will find some wise words to lift your spirits on this Monday as well.

Source: Mint Sprinkles
Original Source Unknown
Source: Fraeulein Zuckerwatte
Source: Free People
Source: My Year to Thrive
If nothing else, you can always count on this fact to brighten your Monday...
Source: Monday
Have an inspired Monday!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Few Things on a Thursday: Fall Inspiration!

Happy almost-Friday! 
  • Yesterday was a completely cloudy day. All day. It looked like fall, and while it wasn't exactly cool outside, I wasn't sweating at the end of recess. You fellow southerners realize that this is a tremendous accomplishment. I hope I'm not jinxing our chances for cooler weather, but according to the forecast, there is hope in the very near future...

Source: The Weather Channel

I'll take 75-degree weather, even if it does mean there's a chance of a little rain. My flowers could use some rainwater anyway!
  • With fall in the air and on the brain, I am really anxious to start adding a few seasonal accents around the house. When the latest Pottery Barn catalogue arrived in the mail today, I almost couldn't contain my excitement. I'm not crazy for Halloween spiders and ghosts, but I do enjoy some pumpkins. Here are a few of my favorite ideas for fall decor so far... (some old, some new)
Original Source: Pottery Barn (Link no longer functional.)
Source: Ruche
Source: The Shabby Creek Cottage
Source: My Sweet Savannah
Source: Simply VintageGirl
Source: Raised in Cotton
Source: Tatertots and Jello
I'll be on the hunt for ideas to use at our house for a while, so if you have any suggestions, send them my way! Have a great day! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What are you watching? The Tally Tales fall lineup...

I'm not completely obsessed with TV. I can't really remember the last time I had specific shows I had to see every week. I'm pretty sure it was sometime in college. Grey's Anatomy: the early years.

Then, I started dating Russ, and he introduced me to this incredible thing called DVR. I'm a little slow to catch on to trends sometimes; have I mentioned that before? Anyway, I love being able to record my favorite shows, and watch them on my own time, without commercials. For the most part, I try to stick to the schedule, just because I really am crazy about my shows, (there are so many good ones) and I want to watch them as soon as possible. Nonetheless, my DVR schedule looks like this:

Sunday: Revenge

Monday: How I Met your Mother

Tuesday: New Girl

Wednesday: Duck Dynasty AND Nashville

Thursday: Big Bang Theory

What shows are on your viewing lineup for this fall?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Turn Your Instagram Pictures into Polaroids!

This may be my favorite find yet. I might be the last one to discover this amazing web site, but I really had to share it -just in case someone else needs to know.

If you like Instagram, (and I really, really do) and if you like Polaroid pictures (I really, really do) then you are going to love this web site. Origrami is an Instagram-publishing company that will not only print your Instagram pictures, but will also allow you to customize your prints in a variety of retro-style designs. Not only that, but they have free shipping on all orders, worldwide. You simply link up with your Instagram account, select which prints you want, and select the style you would prefer for your prints.
The print styles can be as elaborate or as simple as you prefer. You can add designs and text to the back of each image as well. The site is very user-friendly, and the process is virtually hassle-free. Call me crazy, but I like to have pictures in my hands to hold. The digital images aren't enough for me. I want photo albums on the shelves and pictures in frames. Real pictures. Maybe it has something to do with growing up in the 90's. Or maybe I'm a dinosaur. Either way, I develop a lot of pictures through various companies, and this is probably the easiest experience I have had yet. 

I'm even obsessed with the packaging for these products. My pictures arrived in this sturdy, cardboard, camera-themed box, and the designers were even so thoughtful as to include a "thank you" tag inside.

I chose to keep my prints simple in design. I wanted basic polaroid prints with nothing on the back. They did not disappoint. 

I could not find a single print that was flawed; I think that's impressive, considering the fact that my order contained thirty-six prints.

 Of course, you don't have to choose polaroid prints. You also have the option to order your pictures as square prints. I'm sure you will be satisfied with the outcome either way. But in my opinion, these were perfect. ;)
If you place an order and share your experience, please link back to me! I would love to see how your order turns out. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

DIY: Step-by-step Tutorial for Creating a Mouse-Over Pin Button

I am so excited to finally have the mouse-over Pin it! button attached and functional on images here. This is a much greater accomplishment for me than you might realize. I know, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, because everyone apparently has this installed on their blogs. I, however, have felt like the biggest dunce because everyone has it, and I could not figure out how to install the button on my blog. I hope the following post is helpful for those rare few bloggers out there who, like myself, need a little more information on installing the Pin it! button on their blog images. I wish someone had provided a step-by-step explanation like this for me. There may be a terrific one out there, but I couldn't find it. So I really hope this is helpful for you.

First of all, there are a couple of easy options for this process. Your first option is to visit the Widget Builder on Pinterest. If you click on the link, you should be directed to a page that looks like this:
They actually provide an easy code for the following mouse-over Pin it! button.

To insert this mouse-over button, you simply choose the "Image Hover" option, and then click "Build it!"
The next page will provide the HTML code you need to insert the image into your blog.

At that point, you will need to go back to your Blogger homepage, and select the Template tab on your left-hand sidebar. Then choose the "Edit HTML" option.

Once in your HTML code, you need to insert the code Pinterest provided just above the closing </body> tag.

So this is all well and good, and if you like the basic, rectangular-shaped Pin it! button, then you are good to go! I, however, wanted this image for my mouse-over button...

This is where the tough part came in for me. So I want to make it really, really, really simple for anyone else who, like me, just has to have that cute little circular P as your mouse-over button.

Simply follow the same process as described above, except instead of using the HTML code provided by Pinterest, you will need to copy and paste the following code. Again, this code should be pasted just above the closing </body> tag in your HTML format.

var bs_pinButtonURL = "";
var bs_pinButtonPos = "topright";
var bs_pinPrefix = "";
var bs_pinSuffix = "";
<script src='' type='text/javascript'/>
<script id='bs_pinOnHover' src='' type='text/javascript'>
// This Pinterest Hover Button is brought to you by
// Visit for details.
// Feel free to use and share, but please keep this notice intact.

Okay, now here's an extra tip for you. If you use this code, precisely as typed, then your mouse-over image will appear in the top right corner of each picture. If you aren't happy with that, and would like to change the location, you can easily do that by editing the code just a bit.

Look at the fifth line of the code above, and you will see "topright" at the end of the line. This is the portion of the code that designates the location of the mouse-over image. To change the location for your Pin it! button, you may replace "topright" with any of the following options:

Top Left Corner: "topleft"
Bottom Left Corner: "bottomleft"
Bottom Right Corner: "bottomright"
Center Alignment: "center"

That's all! I hope this is helpful for you! Happy blogging (and pinning)!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Few Things on a Thursday: Technical Touches

So, Happy tomorrow-is-Friday day!!!! We have made a few technical updates on The Tally Tales lately.
  • Have you noticed this...???
I'm not sure if any of you have noticed the recently added "Store" page on The Tally Tales. I wanted to explain a little about this feature, because, as of yet, it is definitely in a very early stage of development. I have had several shipping requests for wreath orders, and quite a few friends in locations outside northeast Mississippi have asked about the possibility of shopping with The Tally Tales. I am beyond excited about this, and we want to make this option available in the near future. However, at this point, this feature is not functional. We do intend to have it up and running sooner rather than later, but we're just not quite ready for that yet. If you are interested in a special order soon, you can always contact me via e-mail or the contact form on the Contact Me! page to discuss those options. In the meantime, please excuse our mess there. 

  • Speaking of the contact form... that's a new addition to The Tally Tales as well! 
To access this form, simply click on the Contact Me! page tab. The contact form looks like this:
Feel free to use the new contact form, should you have any questions, feedback, or tips for me! I love hearing from each of you!

I think that's all for today. Thanks for checking out the changes here! :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jellyfish Craft and Writing

Our class finished a recent study of jellyfish with this all-too-cute writing and craft activity. 
The students began their writing with a question prompt: How does a jellyfish move? We watched videos of jellyfish to observe the ways they moved through water. Then, we brainstormed our own list of words and phrases to describe the motions we saw. Those kids came up with some wonderful descriptions! They wrote their questions and answers in complete sentences on a small strip of tablet paper. 
For the craft, the students started with two shades of blue construction paper. They used the paper to create a tear-art ocean background for their jellyfish. Any remaining white spaces were filled in using a blue crayon.
We used a template to cut our jellyfish out of colorful, patterned scrapbook paper. We made the tentacles by cutting strips of paper streamers. The students attached these to the back of the jellyfish, and then they glued the jellyfish on top of their tear-art ocean.
Once finished, the students attached their writing to the bottom.
 How neat is that??? The students were so proud of their work, but honestly, I think I might have been as excited about the finished products as they were! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just a Freebie!

This is a short and simple freebie that may be really helpful for tracking student progress in reading. Specifically, these documents target reading performance on high frequency (sight) words assessments and fluency assessments. I am currently using these to document my students' progress, and it has already been really beneficial to see their performance from week to week on these specific skills.
Okay, and let's get serious... the best part? It's a freebie! :) So hop on over to the Tally Tales TPT store and grab this product if you think it might be useful in your classroom! You can also click on the following link for a quick shortcut: Reading Assessment Documentation *Freebie*

Monday, September 9, 2013

Little Get Well Wishes

When I returned to school last week after my strep throat experience, I walked into a classroom full of get-well wishes hanging in the air. Literally.
I had to snap pictures as I walked around. They were all so precious. There were a few images of me, sick in bed. They just don't know how accurate this picture really was! ;)
Then, there were a few faithful firsties who chose to depict me as healthy and happy. Check out those labels! ;)
 All of the cards contained words of sweet well-wishes. Some were more elaborate than others, but all of them were just precious. On Friday, I took them all home to keep. Kind notes like this are always good to have within reach.

I hope your Monday is as sweet as this! :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

On the Menu: Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Happy Friday! Since I had a little food fun to share with you today, I thought I would also participate in the Foodie Friday link-up through Home Maid Simple!

I originally came across these amazing, but probably sinful, treats on Pinterest, and you can find the original recipe at Cake. However, I apparently lack the control of the original baker because I could not bear to make the bite-sized, mini-muffin version of these. I had to go full-sized.

I also have to warn you; these are not, in any way, a healthy option, version, or sweet-treat substitute. I try to adhere to an organic, clean-eating agenda as much as possible... but one day I found a package of brownie mix in the cabinet, and I just could not let that go to waste. In the end, I opted for these full-sized, peanut butter cup brownies.

I have no regrets (in spite of the damage these may have done to my waistline). Sometimes, you just need to indulge a bit.

1 package of fudge brownie mix (and all necessary ingredients as specified by the package)
1/2 cup peanut butter and milk chocolate chips/morsels
1/2 cup peanut butter (melted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan to prepare for 7-8 muffins (depending on your preference for muffin sizes)

Prepare brownie mix as specified on package. However, instead of using a muffin pan, spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.
Bake muffins for 15-20 minutes (oven cooking times may vary) or until tops are set and toothpick comes out slightly wet after inserted into the center.
Once brownie muffins are baked, wait for centers to fall. I made the mistake of baking mine just a minute too long, and if that happens, you can use a spoon to tap the center. You want to create a nice hole for the peanut butter. 
Spoon peanut butter into a small, microwave-safe dish. Heat peanut butter for about 35 seconds, and then stir. While brownies are still warm, pour (or spoon) melted peanut butter into the center of each brownie.
Next, top each brownie with chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. 
 Allow the brownies to cool completely before removing from the pan. Once cooled, you may want to drizzle melted peanut butter across the top.
 If you, like my husband, just have to have ice cream with these brownies, you can also drizzle any remaining melted peanut butter over the ice cream to create a nice little finishing touch. Personally, I think this picture belongs on a dessert menu somewhere, don't you?!? ;)