Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How To Make a Border Using PowerPoint (Mac)

So the newest rage among my teacher friends is to create borders using PowerPoint. HOWEVER, it seems to be a hidden secret because most people want to sell them online. So I did a tiny bit of research today and discovered the newest rage is pretty simple!

1. Open PowerPoint to a new presentation. Make sure you don't have a background, it's just a plain old white template.

2. Delete any words/text boxes you have. This will make it easier to work with.

3. Click on the "Insert" tab at the top.

4. Scroll down to "shapes". Choose a rectangle.

5. Make the rectangle almost as large as the slide.

6. Click on the "Insert" tab at the top again.

7. Make another rectangle, but slightly smaller than first (inside of the first rectangle).

8. Click on the inside (smaller) rectangle to highlight it. Then where it shows a fill bucket, click it and click on the color white.

9. Click on the area between the two rectangles (should look the start of a border).

10. Where it says, "Fill" (should be the same place as the bucket), click on that. Then click on "Fill Effects".

11.  Click on "Pattern". Choose a pattern. I chose a checkerboard pattern for this.

12. To change the color, click where you have clicked on the pattern, choose "Change background color" and pick your color.

Rather than creating a whole bunch of slides independently, to save you time, click on your slide then choose the "Insert" tab and choose "duplicate slide". Another slide should pop up. To have a different color slide (for selling purposes, say), start at step 9 and continue the process. This will save you a TON of time!

Play around with it, you can even choose a photo you have taken and use it instead of the already created patterns! Enjoy!

Surfing to Success Tips and Tutorials

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers

1st, 2nd, 5th - English Language Arts, Reading, Back to School - So I've stumbled across this great site called Teachers Pay Teachers. It's pretty brilliant. Teachers sign up and can sell items they have created or buy items from other teachers. The money goes into your PayPal account, and that's it!

I don't know how many hours I've spent over the years creating things that I thought, "Wow, I wish I could sell that!" Well, now I can!

My problem tonight though is that all my files are on my work computer...BOOO!!! I need to utilize Dropbox more. So, in a pinch, I decided to sort of recreate something I made last year for my fifth graders, but change it for first graders. It's a Powerpoint used as either a writing center or as a whole class writing prompt. I call it "Pick a Prompt". The kids liked it because they felt like they were in charge of their learning. I liked it because it was 5 days' worth of writing wrapped up in one nice little PowerPoint!

I'm hoping to make more items that I can not only use for my classroom, but be able to offer them to other teachers. My goal is to make a little extra cash to help out my struggling family. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Faux Spa

Moms need breaks. Bottom line.

These breaks can come in the form of a much needed hot shower, going to the bathroom without an audience, or even just a meal that hasn't been cut up in to teeny tiny pieces and half bitten by your child. (That last one is usually cold, by the way).

I had the pleasure of having a micro-getaway yesterday. It wasn't a mini-getaway, because that would presume that I left the town in which I live. No, this micro-getaway was across town.

At my parents'.

They were out of town for the night, and needed someone to stay there with my 89 year old grandmother. Before you say, "Ahhhh, how sweet," let's review Grandma's stats: She loves soup, baseball, and carries a loaded weapon when traveling. She once shot a man when he tried to attack my grandfather. But I digress. Those stories can be saved for another day. And trust me, I have plenty of Grandma stories. She's surprisingly spry.

My parents have always made their guests feel welcome. Growing up we lived in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere. We had friends and family gatherings often in the small strip of a yard. When I was 19, we moved out of the sticks and into a small city in a two-story home with the help of my grandmother. Because of this, my parents take great pride in making sure everyone is comfortable.

They throw large parties in their Hawaiian and Mexican themed back yard.  They open the garage door to their 50's themed diner/laundromat and allow complete strangers to walk up and visit. (This, by the way, is my dad's favorite pastime. I call it his spider web. He knows they want to enter, so he moves the cars to the street so passersby can get a full view of the checkerboard floor and the cardboard cutout of Elvis.) 

They give personal tours of the "I Love Me" room upstairs, more commonly known as the "Murder Room" which is dedicated to my dad's 30+ years in law enforcement and homicide investigations. Some guests spend the night in my old room which was once adorned with light blue walls and swimming dolphins. Now, it is "The Cockpit". It has model planes, drawings of planes, pictures of planes, and even a curtain separating the room from closet to suggest you need a boarding pass to enter.

But the best guest room in the house is also my son's favorite room. He will never know the room to be blood red and pitch black from my creative sister's paint practices (it took a million coats of paint to turn the walls to a lovely peach color). "The Beach Room." It's calm, breezy, and comfortable. The pillows are much more forming to my head than my own. The Temperpedic overlay allows my tired back to sink in perfectly while the faux down comforter puts just the right amount of pressure on top of me. Even better than all of those things? I have about a foot and a half between my husband and me. Yes, our own space! A California King sized bed makes this girl feel like a queen!
So I shouldn't have been surprised when it came time to take a shower. I have been married for 7 years and have never once taken a shower in their remodeled guest bathroom. Although I didn't have my usual shower items, it was not a problem. My mom has so lovingly put together a guest basket in the bathroom with all the toiletries one would need when visiting Casa de Mom. It even has deodorant! Find that at the Hilton!

More impressive was the shower itself. When I turned it on, not one, but two shower heads began spouting out warm water! I was able to stand in the middle of the shower and have my left and right sides warm at the same time! One shower head was removable, so I was able to rinse my body and my hair simultaneously! Talk about a treat!

Yes, moms need breaks. This is evident in the fact that I just spent 30 minutes writing about the most amazing shower I my mom's house.

Sooo......bottom line, you don't always need to book a spa treatment or a hotel stay in order to feel rejuvenated. Sometimes your getaway is somewhere you've always loved.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Forgotten Fowl

So last week I was mentally at a loss for things to do with my kiddo. He is almost two. We were driving each other crazy. He threw lots of fits to make my ears bleed, and I kept telling him the word, "no". This awful cycle would last for quite some time.
As I was making sure this kid was gaining the sustenance needed to continue said fits, I realized there was one activity he and I hadn't done together. It was one that I can remember doing many times as a young girl with my mother. Feeding the ducks!

There is a large (and stinky) pond near the local community college that is thriving with water foul who just want one more bite of your moldy bread. There are geese, pigeons, ducks, smaller birds, and more seagulls than you can shake a stick at. And trust me, after being there for five minutes, you'll want to shake a stick at them!

My son was excited to see the birds all around us. We came at a great time too. As you can see from the picture, we weren't the only ones who decided to help the local hungry animals. One woman dropped about four loaves of bread between her mom mobile and my humble sedan. This helped keep the birds from ripping bagels and hamburger buns out of my kid's tiny fingers.

Needless to say, the outing was a success. My breadbox was empty, my kid had an experience with his mom he hadn't had before, and I got to re-live my memories. SUCCESS!