Sunday, December 26, 2010


Natalie LOVES crafts. ANY kind of crafts. This Christmas she got several adorable craft kits. One of them is an American Girl kit where you make a stuffed raccoon for you and one for your doll. We started the small one today and I have not seen natalie that focused in a long time. She came right down after her shower so that she could finish before bed. Below is her end result. Some fantastic Mommy-daughter bonding time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dressing for Santa

I am trying to figure out how to get a cute Holiday greeting onto my blog but for now I will leave you with a fantastic conversation that I had with a few of my first graders today. While doing writing conferences with one of my tables, the children were talking about leaving cookies for Santa. I posed this question. "Do you think that Santa ever gets tired of cookies?" Of course the resounding answer is NO! I asked if maybe we should leave a salad for Santa instead. One of my cuties said that we could not possibly leave a salad for Santa. When asked why not, she replied "Because we don't know what kind of dressing he likes!" I LOVE first graders!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This is a little thing that has made me happy lately. While at a craft show with Becky and Jenny, we stumbled upon a booth that was selling these fun pretty bracelets. You start with the bracelet and add the beads that you like. They are marketed in many ways and have many names. There is also a wide range of beads. I bought a butterfly bead (for my garden), and owl bead (for my classroom), a zodiac bead (Leo, of course) and some little spacers that have a green stone (August birthstone). I added some pretty glass blingy beads and I rearrange them often! Do you want to know the BEST thing about my girlfriend bracelet? The whole thing costs about as much as ONE bead from a jewelry store! All you skeptics may be saying something like "you get what you pay for" but Becky said it best when she said that it would be out of style by the time the bracelet falls apart. Head out to your local craft store and start your own!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

TESTING 1....2.....3....

I am on a mission. I want to create a classroom blog so that I can publish my students' writing and artwork. It really is too good to keep to myself! I spent most of the day at a training looking at different web blog sites and tried to decide which one would fit my classroom needs. One of the things that I want to be able to do is publish video. I am going to go with Blogger if I can get video on it. There is a comfort in going with what you know. SO....Nathan gets to be my at-home guinea pig. If I can get this video of him up on this blog, not only will you be entertained by the musical stylings of Nate the Great, but you will soon see another blog about my terrific students!

PS: I am on attempt #2 with minimal success but I will NOT give up! Attempt #3....getting frustrated.....still not giving up......really.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Best Night Ever

Sunday night I had my family over for dinner. Dave's parents were visiting from Vermont and had brought Jacob with them. Chris came and brought Hannah and Connor and since Monday was NOT a school day, we let the kids play outside well into the darkness. We inevitably collected a neighborhood boy who joined in the fun. I called them inside after it was too dark to see them and was greeted with groans and complaints. When I was tucking Nate into bed, he said to me that it was "the best night ever". It made me think about how many nights my brothers and I would stay out late playing with the other neighborhood kids. Our "best nights ever" included "what time is it Mr. Fox?". Last night it was Nerf War......what are the games you played on your "best nights ever?"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mushrooms and Beets

I was looking at my new "Everyday Food" magazine and came across their featured vegetable of the month. It happens to be beets. I asked my husband if he liked beets. To my surprise, he did said yes. I have never eaten a beet nor have I cooked a beet. My Mom never cooked a beet for us. Did she not like them or did my Grandmother not like them? This conversation made me think of all the foods out there that I have not tried because my Mom or Dad did not like them. My Dad does not like mushrooms so we never really ate them. I don't like mushrooms so my children don't eat them. Does this make me a bad parent? I don't think so but I am looking for a good beet recipe.....anyone got one?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer's Scar

Well, it is a sure sign that summer is over at the Faas house. The pool is down and the crop circle is making its 2010 debut. We have a blowup pool. It is a pretty good size and meets our "cooling off" needs pretty well in the summer. At some point the kids are going to be to big to have fun in it but for now it is a staple in our yard in the summertime. It is a little sad that it is down and I wonder every fall if the pool will survive the winter in our garage. I also wonder how my kids will remember the pool. Hopefully they will remember it as it looks in the below pictures. A small,blue, cool fun-time oasis where you couldn't dive but splashing was always encouraged!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Poet of the Month

So in my classroom we have started a "Poet of the Month" in order to get kids excited about poetry and hear and love the rhyme and the music of poetry. I have several poems by Mary Ann Hoberman taped on the wall by my door and we have been reading one when we line up and leave the room. As we were leaving the room today (a little late, I might add), one of my little ones said that we absolutely could not leave until we read one of our poems, and maybe we could just read the short one. Love those little first grade sponges!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Braden is the first of my "Little Things" posts that is about one of my new little buddies! We were talking at calendar time about what season it is right now. I felt that I was being a good teacher by telling the children that even though it felt like autumn, the calendar is what tells us when it is actually autumn. This morning as those sweet little faces arrived at school, Braden handed me a beautiful, red and orange leaf. In all of his 5 year-old wisdom, he said to me, "Mrs. Faas, I think the trees tell us when it is autumn!". You are so right Braden!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The night before....

I have a love/hate relationship with the first day of school. I used to get so excited as a child and now, as a teacher, I get the opportunity to feel that excited every September. I hope that I never lose that! I also hate the first day of school. Nerves overtake me every year. Many doubts run through my mind. My most prevalent concern is....."Will I oversleep?" No worries, of course, because I will be up at 4am. "How many times will I have to teach the signal for having to use the bathroom?" "Did I plan enough?" It always works out and it will again this year.

I better go and get to bed.....4am will come early!

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

--Mohandas Gandhi

Monday, September 6, 2010


Natlalie and I did some shrinky-dinks recently and they are still just as totally cool as I remember! The good thing about the shrinky-dinks of today is the smell....there is NONE! My husband will say that it is because the ones today aren't toxic! Where is the fun in that? I also don't remember the old ones shrinking so quickly. Natalie was watching (as you can see) and it only took about 3 minutes for them to be done. I am totally going to get some more into my "winter craft stash!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Random Act of Coupon-ing

Something interesting happened to me while I was out shopping with the kids today. We went to Old Navy to look around and once inside the door, we were asked if we wanted to do a "touchdown dance" and get a coupon for the store. Of course we said yes. We got a nice coupon for $5 off a $50 purchase.

Knowing that we would not be spending that much there today, I gave the coupon to a young family that was clearly already over $50. The young mother was shocked and asked me several times if I was sure that I wanted to give up such a good coupon. Once I convinced her that I was not going to be using the coupon she said, "Thank you! Something wonderful will happen for you today!"

While we were in the car on the way home, this was the conversation that I had with my daughter:

"That lady seemed very happy to get the coupon, Mom!" - Natalie
"She did! How much did it cost us to be nice to her?" - me
"Nothing! It was free! We could do that again!" - Natalie

Guess that lady was right........something wonderful did happen to me today.......

Monday, August 30, 2010


The short drive south
With coolers and totes.
Sunscreen, bathing suits,
Water shoes, floats.

Children and dogs,
ducks and sun,
Canoes, kayaks,
And fast-tubing fun!

Laughing, talking,
Jumping off the dock.
Snacking all day.
Not checking the clock.

Looking for crabs.
Fishing with nets.
Swimming and playing
Until the sun sets.

Dancing diamonds
And a hot-air balloon.
Our last day at the lake
Ends much too soon.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


My kids are lucky to have cousins so close in age and all living in the same city. This picture was taken today at a family picnic at my brother's house. They were all really good about posing for me, especially the little one. I look at this picture and it makes me wonder what their relationships will be like as they grow older. I see so many birthdays, holidays, graduations and weddings in our future. For now though, laying in the grass, laughing and posing for a picture seems like the perfect day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Butter Beans and Corn

Well Dad, you are probably not surprised that I am blogging about this today! This is one of the best batches yet! To let all of you in on our little Mom-Mom made the BEST ever in the world butter beans and corn. For you poor souls out there that do not know of this delicacy, let me fill you in. Butter beans (lima beans.....don't wrinkle your noses people) and sweet corn (cut off the cob) cooked in a magical juice know what? I don't really know! Dad now has the secret family recipe. He just made one of the best batches of the decade. I suppose that at some point I should get the recipe from him (out of the family vault, of course) but I am going to let the magic live a little longer.....gotta next bowl just came out of the microwave!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

One of my 2 favorite "Little Things"

Happy birthday to one of my absolute favorite " little things"in the whole entire world.
I am constantly amazed by his sweetness and his extraordinary kindness towards others.

He still can make me laugh and smile every day.

I look forward to all of the wonderful memories that we will continue to create! I love you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I love you George!

This is a "little thing" that I took out of the box for the first time tonight. And now I am in love with it! Besides the fact that it is blue (my choice), it cooks chicken in 5 minutes! Where has this been all of my life? I have heard friends mention that this little beauty is somewhat of a pain to clean but for now I am going to bask in the glow of my little 2 serving cooker. The kids think that I am a genius because I can cook raw chicken, coated with a little italian dressing, in about 5 minutes. And they LOVED it! If I ever have another child, I will name him (or her) George Foreman....for sure!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

DIY -Do it yourself

Do it yourself is great. There are times when I have wandered through the isles in Home Depot and marveled at all of the many projects that I could do by myself. I have 4 channels on my satellite that show me how easy it is to install windows, tile the bathroom, or totally transform a broom closet into a full bath with a jacuzzi tub. That being said, the part that they don't really romanticize is the "yourself" part. This is my dining room. When we moved in there was stucco swirls, painted wood design and z-brick on the walls. Not my all. So now this is what it looks like......nice eh? I got to listen to my husband use his DIY vocabulary, got to use my work gloves to help carry out a HUGE sheet of drywall (that was covered with stucco swirls and very heavy) and worried about whatwe might discover in the 35 year-old walls (there were no surprises, thank God). Now the hard part begins.....the finishing. If only we could get this project done in the 30 minutes that HGTV does!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I love custom design! know how much I love new school supplies but this is the ultimate! Mom and Dad gave me a great gift card for my birthday. LLBean is the master of customer service. I ordered this on Saturday and got it today! You can go online and choose the colors of your tote bag. For all of my teacher friends out there, you can pay a little more and get a zipper closure on top! Also got long handles so that I can sling it over my shoulder. Decided on just the single monogram instead of "Mrs. Faas" and am very pleased. I can't wait to move into it but I do not want to rush this summer!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I received a great gift for my birthday. It was something that I have always known about and a "little thing" that is priceless. My grandfather (Pop-Pop) carved duck decoys. Some he painted to look like the actual ducks and some he just carved out of beautiful woods. Sassy is a small duck that he made for my Mom-Mom. She is a Ruddy duck and was carved by Jack Waller (Pop-Pop) out of butternut wood (this is all written in his handwriting on the bottom of Sassy). The ducks and the birds that he carved have been gifted out to family and friends as my Mom-Mom moved around but Sassy stayed as her favorite. I can still hear her saying "Sassy" with her slight southern accent. Mom-Mom is gone now and Sassy now gets to live with me. I hope that she will be OK living in the chaos that is our lives here on Pine Ridge. I will make sure that she is safe but in a place of honor. When you come to visit, ask me about her and I will let you hold her!

Mary Ellen (Mom-Mom), me, and Jack Waller (Pop-Pop)
circa 1987---I am sure that you could tell it was the 80's by my awesome hair!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rice Krispie Treats!

Really, is there a better snack? I realized today that I did not give my children enough "hands-on" time in the kitchen. Ta-da! Rice Krispie Treats were just the solution! I made them do all the messy parts. You would have thought, to talk to my children, that I had just won the Betty Crocker cook-off. Guess that I ought to bake for them a little bit more! And by the way, that IS a tattoo on my son's arm but it says "Read" so who can argue???? Go make some dessert!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Give BLUE the credit it is due!

From the dictionary : informal (of a person or mood) melancholy, sad, or depressed : he's feeling blue.

This is unfair! How did this, my favorite color, get such a bad reputation? I am going to celebrate blue today. It is a "little thing" that makes me happy. Given a choice, I choose blue 99% of the time. Who can argue with the color of the sky on a beautiful day?

Some of my favorite things:

My blue Nissan. I told the salesman "I want that blue car. I don't care what features it has." OK, maybe not a smart move as a consumer, but it all worked out.

My newly-spraypainted porch chair and side table. They were ordinary brown (sorry to all those "brown-lovers" out there) and now they are a beautiful blue. I smile whenever I walk onto the porch.
My library. Yes, I do have a library....awesome, I know. My favorite blue reading chair in front of my awesome, custom-made (by my Dad), blue bookshelves.

My engagement ring. David reset my original diamond with a sapphire on each side, one for each of our children. My birthstone is not blue but he knows that I love it. And he loves me.
So let's be better advocates for the color blue. Maybe if we all start using it in a positive way, society will start giving it the respect that it deserves! :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Poem for Amy

I think that I will write a poem.
I really do want to!
Today I learned the best technique.
I know just what to do!
There's one big nagging problem
That I just can't figure out.
I want to write a poem,
But don't know what to write about!

Thanks for the great 2 days of workshop Amy! You made me excited to start the year and you made me a better teacher!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thanks Ben Franklin!

Ben Franklin did so many things that were great. He was the first international ambassador, invented bifocals, and who can forget the whole string and key in the thunderstorm deal? I wanted to write about my love of the library system and did a little research about its beginnings. Ben did not invent or create the first library but he was one of the first people that instituted the concept of the lending library.

I love the public library system in my county. I serve as a member of the Friends Board of my town library. My family participates in the many activities that the library provides and my overdue fines help to keep the library open! :)

When I was young, I would ride my bike to a local apartment complex just so that I could visit the bookmobile. I can remember going to the library as a young adult and thinking that I would "just start at the first book and work my way through to the last one". I am still in awe of the vast expanses of books on the shelves. Even walking into the library in the school where I teach, I have a sense of overwhelming peace.

I sat and added up the price of all of the books that I have read since June and how much it would have cost me to buy them and my lending book haven has saved me about $100. A great bargain! Take some time and go visit your library.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The one good thing about school starting!

Ok...I am lucky. Every year, I get to join parents everywhere in buying their children's school supplies. I set out with lists and scour the sale ads for the best bargain. Just today I got notebook paper for just one cent! Seriously? This is not why I consider myself lucky. I am lucky because, as a teacher, I get to shop for my supplies too! I returned used ink cartridges to Staples and got a lovely check for $27 to use there. After getting the last few things on Nate's list, I got some things for me. Post-its shaped like stars, pretty pens, an awesome notebook and Mr. Sketch skinny smelly markers! (If you could see me now, you would see me smiling and jumping around!) While I am not quite ready to head back to school, I may be willing to take my new toys, I mean tools, out of the packaging!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ok....I did it. Got it started and even think I know what I will post first! (Thanks to Katie) Since I decided that I would name my blog "It's the Little Things", I decided to post about the newest "little thing" that is bringing me joy today! I returned from a week-long vacation and discovered that this little beauty had FINALLY bloomed. This is a Japanese anemone and I purchased it (after much deliberation and thought during my weekly public market visits) last fall. I gingerly planted it in the ground and held my breath that it would produce the beauty that the "plant lady" promised. The leaves arrived in the spring and even though I knew that it would not bloom until later in the summer, I had my doubts about its potential. Still, I tended it, watered it, sprayed it (bunnies). Soon the little stems and fuzzy buds arrived. Would you believe that I was still doubting this tough plant? It was worth the wait to see this beautiful flower and the plant will, no doubt, produce many more lovely flowers like this! This first blossom will always be my favorite fought against my doubt and triumphed! Mother Nature rocks!