Sunday, July 29, 2012

I made friends.... in Banff, Canada!

This past week I was in Banff, Canada. It's in Alberta about 1.5 hours away from Calgary - and it was definitely an amazing trip!

Sunday July 22
After a trip to the gym, the family showered, got ready, and ate breakfast. Deciding that it was time to go into town and check out what downtown Banff looked like, we found some groundhogs along the way! So we decided to pull over and take some pictures. Turns out that they are extremely friendly and want any food you have. Fortunately, I found a piece of bread on the ground and decided to start feeding it to them. They LOVED it (and me for it!) However, when I ran out of bread they all started to gather around my feet and one liked the smell of my lotion and ended up BITING me!
Look at those chubby cheeks! :)
Our beautiful hotel!
Before going downtown, we decided that we were going to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain. First off, I don't do well on gondolas. I was scared the whole way up - however, when we got to the top, it was breathtaking!
The whole family - myself, za, dad, and mom
Pretending he didn't have service - HA!
Walking in downtown Banff was amazing. Being surrounded by the mountains was amazing and beautiful. There aren't enough words to describe the pictures that are posted. After a late lunch we continued to walk around more. When we had finished the main strip we were going to head back to the hotel, but decided that we would drive right down the street to Lake Minnewanka. This lake was unbelievable! The water was a teal color that was just beautiful.
Lake Minniewanka
The night was finished up by a reception for my dads business meetings and a nice night watching The Bachelorette... Fortunately we haven't missed the ending since we are on a different time zone!! WAHOO!

Monday July 23
Dad had a business meeting in the first part of the day so all the girls were on their own. I decided at the last minute that I didn't want to head into town, but instead wanted to take a hike - and that's exactly what I did. 5 1/2 miles up the side of the mountains... absolutely stunning!
Of course I had to head back at some point due to a 3:45 massage. Let me tell you, that was the best feeling after such a long hike! (well... long in my books!) After the massage everyone showered and got ready to head into downtown Banff to go to the dinner put on by my dads business colleagues. It was a decent dinner - definitely not the type of steak you get at home! After dinner it was off to bed!

Tuesday July 24
This morning started off with a trip to the gym, breakfast with mom, and a smaller hike. Mom had really wanted to see the falls (or rapids...) and so we decided to take a hike. When getting on the trail, it only took about 3 minutes to realize that mosquitos were CLINGING to us! The entire hike we were swatting at them trying to get them off our legs and arms! UGH! However, when we got to the falls - they were absolutely STUNNING!
Mom with the trail map
Myself with the trail map
Once we got back to the room, my dad was heading down to the gym to run and so we thought we would do a one hour horseback trail ride. While waiting for the trail ride (about 45 minutes - ugh!) we went over and fed the ground squirrels/groundhogs again! This time - I had part of a bagel, and they LOVED me for it!
The horseback riding was great... until.... I actually got on my horse. I had this beautiful horse named clover, was really sweet but a little lazy. The minute the lady said that "these are western horses which mean they kick and bite each other all day long - so you can't kick them hard enough!" I started to freak out! It seems a may have some anxiety... oh well!
Clover and I  - I wish that was HIS excited face!
Instead of going to dinner with my dads colleagues that night - we thought it would be fun to go to our own restaurant of our choice! We decided on this place called "grizzlys" that we had seen our first night. The sign said it was steak and cheese fondue so I figured it was right up our alley! When we got there it seemed like a very outdated place but the prices told me otherwise! We realized there were phones at every table. When we asked our server, we were able to get the scoop on the place. It opened in 1967 as a swingers club! The phones were at each table so that if you wanted to call and talk to someone you could pick up the phone and dial their table number and invite them over! Very awkward - but made for some good entertainment! Afterwards we did a little bit of shopping then headed back to the hotel...
You have the choice to cook it on stone or in oil - we chose stone figuring it was healthier. However, it takes 3 times as long considering the stone has to be replaced every 15 minutes!

Because on Wednesday July 25, we had to come back to VA!

I'm going to be starting a new arts and crafts project for my desk! Hopefully I can post on it either Monday or Tuesday!

Ms. B

Saturday, July 21, 2012

stuck on something, and in Chicago...

What better time to post a blog than sitting at the airport with nothing to do as you wait another hour to board the flight you should have been on at 9:47 in the morning... thank you Dulles for the delays *smh*. As I'm waiting in Chicago to board a flight to Banff, Canada I realize that I didn't get to blog about the project I worked on yesterday!

I've made these magnets before, but figured since I didn't have too much to do during the day (except for the obvious procrastination in packing) that I should make these magnets!! I started with the clear glass stones from the dollar store ($1.00 for about 20 stones!), a bottle of mod podge (make sure it's the kind that will dry clear when putting it on glass!), some type of paint brush, and two fat quarters from joanns. Now, for the fat quarters - you really only need one of them if you are content with doing just one pattern, but of course... not for me! I got two different designs so that I had some variety.
I first "painted" the mod podge to the bottom of the glass stones and stuck them right on the fabric. I did this over a paper towel because I didn't want to make anyone unhappy if something were to have stuck to the kitchen table *gasp*. I then cut the fabric so that it went right around the stones... nothing special and it definitely WASN'T perfect (to be honest - I cut them out in the car as we dropped the dogs off at the kennel!) When I got home, I fired up the hot glue gun and started glueing the magnets to the back of the stones. This was easy-peasy-mac-n-cheesy. My glue dots were about the size of dimes and when I pressed the magnets down the glue went out and surrounded the magnet... it was UHMAZING.

Ahh - so now it's back to waiting and waiting and more waiting. I'll probably update from Banff.. maybe post some pictures of what we're doing while there!! Until then, readers...

Ms. B

Friday, July 20, 2012

Something to sit on... UPDATE!

Hey everyone! I hope your Friday is going well! :) I got my stool back! I must say.... I left it to my dad to put a clear gloss coat on it and boy-oh-boy was I nervous (he kept joking that it was broken today!) But WOWZERS did he do a good job!!!! I am really excited that this will be part of my classroom... and I can't express how awesome my dad is for doing this!

Thanks pops!

Ms. B

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You're pulling my heartstrings...

I got this idea from my best friend, Alicia, who recently did a Virginia Tech one. Thinking I was crafty (in certain aspects), I decided that I would try one out for myself. I first had my awesome boyfriend go to Home Depot and have them cut the wood for me 12 x 12. This gave me 3 equal pieces and one that was just a little smaller. I then took dark blue paint and painted the entire front and its 4 sides. Once I did a few coats of the paint, I let it dry over night.
The next morning I printed out almost a 8 1/2 x 11 size picture of Michigan. The first thing I did was draw a heart over Ann Arbor (where I was born). Fortunately, we have a house in Brooklyn where my mom grew up and I was able to cover Brooklyn in the heart too! Once I cut Michigan out as well as the heart, I used painters tape and painted it down to the wood block. My first step was to start hammering nails along all of the borders of the picture. I started with the heart since it was on the inside and I figured if I had messed it that the string would cover it anyways!
I then continued until I did the nails all around the heart and the outside of Michigan. I used Linoleum Nails that were 11/16" - and they worked perfectly. Once I hammered all the nails in (it took a while - my right arm seems to be a little weak) I lifted the picture up and VOILA!
I truthfully thought about leaving it the way it was, but I really wanted to continue and bust my butt and fully complete the whole thing. So I decided that I would start on the part of Michigan that wouldn't be able to reach the heart. This was the SMARTEST move EVER! I kept going and just kept winding and winding. I'm glad I used string because since my nails were smaller I don't think yarn would have worked well.
Now that its all finished I think I'm going to go start my next project. I've done my magnets before, but I need to make more for my own classroom (which is now room 305... got switched today!! I hope its as big as the one I first was in!!)

Ms. B

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What to sit on??

Hey readers! I figured that I would start a blog so that family and friends can see what I'm creating for my classroom and what other cool projects that I'm working on!

This started about two months ago right around the time I got hired as a third grade teacher. I was ecstatic and wanted to do something for my classroom that was *mine*. I had a barstool that I kept in my bathroom when I was in college and figured it would be the perfect arts and crafts project.

To start - I had a handsome man sand it down and helped me spray paint the entire thing white! (Unfortunately, he got some spray paint dots on the hood of his car - WHOOPS!) But once it had dried, I started to sketch out what I wanted on it. I started by sketching out some crayons and then started painting them all in a rainbow pattern.
Once I finished painting all of the crayons, I decided that I was going to do some polka dots on the sides so that it would give it some more "pop". I liked it until I realized the whole thing just needed more...
So that's when I decided that I wanted to have my name on the seat!
After I painted my name I realized that I really wanted the crayons to have more detail and what other way to have more detail than to put "crayola" on them!
So then came time to work on the legs of the stool. I thought doing one long pencil on each flat surface of the legs would be cool but the pencils turned out too big. That's when I decided to do just two pencils facing each other on each side!
Now that the entire thing is complete, I dropped it off and it is currently getting a nice clear coat put on! I'll post the final product when it comes back! Stay tuned tomorrow for what I worked on today!!! 33 more days until I can get into my classroom and start decorating!!

Ms. B