First in First-Meet My Classroom!

I have been waiting since kindergarten to have my own classroom. It’s been a pretty long wait and I am ecstatic that the moment is finally here! I’d like you to meet my classroom! This isn’t actually the first time that I have been in my room. I was able to tour it after I was hired and I brought Josh to visit last week. However, the previous teacher was moving out. So, this is the first time that I have gotten to dig through the books, cupboards, and space and start setting up my room.

The first day was a lot of taking things off of the walls and organizing materials in a way that worked for me. The previous teacher left behind a lot of books and materials for me. This is great because this is my first year teaching, which means I will take all of the materials I can get! But, need to finish going through all of it so that I know what I have and where I put it. (Let’s be real, I will be asking myself where I put it in about two weeks. I should just make a list now…)

Let’s get to the part you are all dying to see – my classroom! These are the before pictures before I touched anything. I would really love to be able to paint my bookshelves, but I am not sure that that is allowed. My “colors” are shades of pink and blue. I know, I know – pink is a “girl” color and blue is a “boy” color. Let me tell you, a majority of my boys’ favorite color is pink. Plus, my favorite colors are pink and aqua. So I am doing it-too bad, too sad if it’s not what you would have picked. I can’t wait to start making it my own space!20160706_13495420160706_13501020160706_135015


Here’s a quick update

I am horrible at blogging.


I have to remember to actually post the blog posts…

I try to get better and then I life gets ahead of me and I forget to post.

New Year’s resolution for the third time in a row: Post regular blog posts!

Anyways, here’s what’s been going on in 12 quick facts.

  1. Our wedding is in less than a year. About 6 months actually! 203 days to be exact.
  2. Josh and I adopted a dog. Her name is Nova.
  3. Nova is crazy and eats everything. Included the cord to my Cameo machine. We weren’t friends for a few days.
  4. I am currently student teaching. I started in second grade and I am now in kindergarten.
  5. I graduate from college in  28 days. It is frightening.
  6. No, I have no clue what I am going to do once I finish school or where I am going to teach. I think I’d like to teach K-2.
  7. We recently moved. Again.
  8. I finally have a craft room in our new home.
  9. Yes, it is already covered in glitter.
  10. I opened an Etsy store!! You can find fun things like tumblers and planning supplies. Go check it out!
  11. Nova also ate a 12 pack of toilet paper. She was making snow angels in it…
  12. I’d love to decorate for Christmas but Josh said no. It will be happening on 11/27.

That is all for now! Christmas decorating posts will be up soon!


Spread Your Wings

About six years ago, I decided that I wanted to go to college 292.7 miles away in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. I had convinced my parents to take me up there for a tour. We drove the 5 hour drive up there, although it was about 8 with Dad navigating. I am pretty sure my parents thought it would be the first and last time we’d be making it. But, we loved it. It had one of the best education programs in Wisconsin. We loved it’s smallness and the community. After our tour, we drove around and explored the town. My parents couldn’t find a single bad neighborhood in those few hours. Plus after all of my mom’s research and finding it was one of the top 10 places to retire to, she declared that she approved. My dad loved that it was on a river and that Fleet and Farm was right next to their hotel (This seriously is one of the reasons that he comes and visits.) And I loved all of it. I felt like I fit there.

About five years ago, while all of my friends were applying to ISU, UNI, Iowa, Wartburg, ect., I submitted my application to UW-Stevens Point. When the acceptance letter came, my parents eagerly waited for me to get home to open it. We were all excited. My brothers were already fighting over who would get my room when I moved. No one tried to talk me out of it. My parents thought it would be good for me. In the words of my mother, “It will give me a chance to spread my wings.” She told everyone that. My friends and I were in our senior year, we were excited for our new adventures to realize that Stevens Point, Wisconsin would steal me away. I take that back, one person tried to talk me out of it. For two years. Lisa wanted me to move into her basement, watch the boys during the day, and go to the local tech school at night. It wasn’t a serious plan, she just didn’t want to lose the babysitter!

About four years ago, we were just returning back to normalcy. We had just moved back into our refinished house after the fire. I moved in my much smaller room, but most of my stuff remained packed. Josh and I had been dating for six months and were still trying to figure out how we were going to visit each other when we’d be five hours apart. Mom and I went and got everything I might need for dorm living. Including a thermometer, so that when I called my mom and told her I was sick, I could give her my exact temperature so that she could determine what I should do. She thinks of everythin! I was ready for school.

Four years ago, we crammed all of my belongings in my tiny car and the van. That first drive up to Point was terrifying. It was raining and it was my first time driving through Madsion. On the Beltline. Josh ended up calling my dad and telling him to slow down so I wouldn’t have a complete panic attack. The next morning, we moved everything into my dorm room. Josh and Noah went back to the hotel so Noah could swim and mom, dad, and I went shopping for anything we still needed. When we got back, I met my roommate and I knew my life was going to suck from that moment. But I told no one and lived on with my life. As my parents left, I panicked and cried. I realized that I didn’t know a single soul. I had no friends here and the only people I knew had just left to go back to Iowa. I then hid in the study lounge until I could calm myself enough to return to my room. I followed this ritual daily for the most of the semester.

That first roommate almost ruined my college experience. She was horrid. I wanted college to be great and it started awful. For the first two weeks I ate by myself and devoted my life to studying. That is until a sophomore across the hall realized that my life was a living hell and marched me and three other girls to an ice cream shop. Two of those girls ended up “saving” me. I finally had friends and started living a less hellish life. Don’t get me wrong, my roommate was still horrible, but I was finally having fun. In October, I decided that I was going to try to transfer out at semester and go to UNI. I never told anyone that was my plan. I just decided that I was done. But, I was too scared to actually go through with it. At semester, a miracle happened. My terrifying evil roommate moved out and a weirder one replaced her. Things got better, but I still had a lot of anxiety.

Looking back, I probably should have gone to the school psych. My English professor had suggested a few times. She adored me because I was also from Iowa and loved pulled pork and Iowa chops as much as her. I never slept, so I had huge blackish/purple rings under my eyes. The food at the dining center made me sick because never in my life had I eaten that much boxed food, so I lost a ton of weight. Instead of gaining my “Freshman 15”, I lost it. And I was depressed.

But I didn’t tell you this story to make you feel sorry for me. I wrote it to tell you that if you have a horrendous first year, it can get better. I wanted to leave and go back home, but I talked myself out of it. I had started making friends, loved my professors, and was starting to have fun. I was extremely homesick but every time Josh would visit, it got better. Plus he’d bring me food from my mom and I could finally eat! I learned so much about myself in those 9 months. Like when I perfected making noodles in the microwave-but not Easy Mac. I almost melted the microwave when I made that. I can cook, I just can’t make Easy Mac… As my mother had hoped, I spread my wings. I liked my life in Wisconsin and was excited to return in the fall.

Four years after that first move in, so much has changed. Starting with myself. I am a much stronger person than what I was my freshman year. I am much more likely to stand up for myself and speak my mind. I didn’t lose myself, I just built myself up. I am still quirky and creative. Who would have thought that the kid who hadn’t spent more than an week away from her parents would have willingly moved five hours away from them! Today is my first day of my final semester of college. I am finally student teaching and hopefully soon will have my own classroom. I graduate in December after four and a half long years. I am getting married in June to my best friend who followed my up here and endured every stress induced meltdown (And called my mom when he didn’t know how to help). We got a puppy and are now struggling with the decision to leave Point to be closer to our parents or to stay here because we have grown to love it. But I can’t help but think how different this all would be if I hadn’t spread my wings and moved to Stevens Point. While I didn’t go out and party (Even though my mom just recently revealed she wished I would just go let loose just once.), I enjoyed my college experience beyond words. I wouldn’t change it for the world, even the terrifying, evil roommate.


Hi All!

Here at Sweet Potato Pie, we have started a new business venture! And by we, I mean myself and the occasional help from Joshua–He lets me drag him around the craft store when buying supplies. While posts have been sparse here and I keep promising to fix that, I have been working on something a little bit bigger. I have decided to share a little bit of my creative madness with you through my new Etsy store!

Head over to to see check out what has been added to the shop! I am always in the process of adding new items. Right now, I am working on planner bands and pen clips that can be added to a planner or notebook. They are adorable and I wish I could keep them all-but I do not need a gagillion planner bands at one time! There are also cups, shirts, and more to come in the shop!

Go now and get your own piece of Sparkle and Shine!!

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Magic Little Planner

I currently have what feels like 6,000 projects to due before the 8 weeks of EMB (Elementary Methods Block) classes end. Which is in 4ish weeks. It’s beyond overwhelming, it’s stressful, and it’s causing me to have a lot of anxiety. But this means that there are only 3 more weeks until I get to be in a classroom doing what I love. Which is what I have been waiting for for the past two years. February has been filled with conferences and trips (I’m finally going to be done with braces in one week!!!!) and that has not been helping with getting work done. But it’s okay because I have a Magic Little Planner!

It’s actually not little, it’s rather large. I write really big and have a ton of stuff to put in it. Making lists helps me feel organized and helps me relieve stress, so a planner is perfect for me. Some people prefer calenders or to do lists. I happen to have all three… I’m crazy, I know. I have a method to my madness though! It goes a little like this:

  • Green Highlighter = Meetings
  • Yellow Highlighter = Assignment is due that day!
  • Orange Highlighter = Conferences
  • Red Pen = Work

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I have already written in each class on the days that I have them. This makes it easier and faster to write in my assignments in class. I normally write what is due for the next class and only put in “BIG” due dates on the actual day things are due. If I put all of my assignments in on the day that they are due, I get mixed up. But one way might work better for you than another! As I finish each assignment or project, I cross it off in my planner. That way I no longer need to worry about it or mix it up with something I haven’t done yet.

Sticky notes are my life saver. When I have a lot of things to do on one day, I write them in a checklist style and stick the note on that particular day. This helps me stay organized as to what I need to do that day. Which lately, there have been lots of checklists…

Speaking of checklists, I have another piece of magic in my planner! It’s a giant checklist that I can put all of my assignments in the order that they are due and what class they are for. I used to use this for the weeks leading up to finals when projects and mass amounts of projects were due all at one time. It helped me keep my ducks in a row as well as organize my time. Normally things are all on different syllabi and they get scrambled together. I do put all of these dates in my planner, but the master checklist allows me to see everything at once! In EBD this has saved my life (Much like my planner!). There are so many projects and little assignments due in a short amount of time. By putting it in the master checklist, I can see everything at once and decide what I need to work on first. It is color coded by class and all of the assignments are ordered by due date. As I finish the assignments, I scribble them off of my list! The master checklist lives inside the front cover of my planner.


Want your own master check list? You can download it below when you click on “Download Master Checklist” below! There is also a reading checklist included in the download!

Download Master Checklist

Being a pre-service teacher, I feel like I have to stay organized as practice for the future. The planner and the master checklist also help keep me sane. There are less nervous breakdowns, lost assignments, and arguments if I have a list. Everyday I do a check in with both my planner and the checklist so that I can make a daily checklist. What can I say, I like lists!




Wedding Under Construction

I recently got done with my final college winter break! While this a terrifying thought (Next December, I will be *hopefully* walking into my own classroom or at least a borrowed one!), I am ready to move on and start my teaching career. While I was home, Josh and I got a lot of planning done for our wedding with the help of our parents. My mom and I went into full planning mode. I can pin point exactly where my anxiety and planning abilities come from and it would be my momma! Before I went home, I had a small mental break down because things were not lining up, I had finals, and lots of other things. Poor Josh did his best to try to keep calm.

The Venue

Between my mom, Josh, and myself, we had created a rather large list of reception venues in our area. We had a few things to consider, like the size of my family. My mom’s side of the family is hugenourmas and finding a place that would hold all of us was a bit of a trick. We also wanted to bring in our own caterer. I found that when it was required that you use the venues caterer, it was either a bit more expensive or a lot more expensive than the outside caterers that we had already looked at. Lastly, venues cost a small fortune and I didn’t want to give up on not paying an arm and a leg for a venue. In the end, we found a beautiful reception venue near our church. We decided on Heartland Acres Agribition Center. The main building is a agriculture museum. Our reception will be held in the events center that is connected to the museum. It is a wide open space with tall ceilings and large windows along the outer wall. Heartland had everything that we were looking for! Plus, the events manager there is amazing to work with!

Booking our venue was a bit of an adventure. Josh and I went to our then perspective venue the Monday before Christmas to look around one last time. We spoke to the event manager and told us not to worry that no one would take our date before Christmas. I had already booked the church and that was why we were aiming for a specific date. We wanted just a few more moments to talk over our decision and make sure that we were making the right choice. Between our visit Monday afternoon and later that evening, someone had booked our day that we wanted! The next three hours on Tuesday after Josh called was a frenzy of calling my mom, freaking out, calling the church and rebooking, calling the venue and confirming a different date. I in no way place any blame on the manager, I just need to be less indecisive! When I went in to sign our contract, there was a couple there booking the weekend after us and someone had called him Christmas day to book the weekend before us! Who knew that you would have to book your wedding a year and half in advance to make sure you get a date!? Either way we have a date, a church, and a reception venue!

The Food, Music, Flowers, and Sooo Much More

My parents and I attended a bridal show to get some ideas and meet some vendors. At the bridal show, we met our DJ, caterer, and a lady who makes popcorn! We also met lots of other people that we may or may not use. Either way, I recommend going to bridal shows. It may seem silly or hectic, but I have learned a lot from them. I have so far attended three since we got engaged. They have helped me price compare vendors and by meeting them in person, I was able to see their product and get a feel for their personality, things that aren’t always convenient with email or phone calls. Most bridal fairs are free or low cost to attend. You also get to taste free food, receive discounts or products from certain vendors, and gather more brochures than what you know what to do with!

The Dress

My mom and I went dress shopping on a whim this summer after I got engaged. We were already downtown and she wanted to just go look to see what there was. I looked once with some friends when I got back to school, but didn’t have much luck. I needed my mom to be with me. Plus I was just having fun with them. Because I go to school 300 miles away from home, I wanted to take advantage of my two maids of honor and myself being home at the same time! I took my mom, grandmother, Katey and Jessica. These are the people that know me the best and know what is most me. We found two amazing dresses, but I wasn’t ready to commit. There was a dress from the summer visit that I wanted to look at before I chose. The next Saturday, Mom, Grandma, and I visited the first store again. I tried on several more dresses, but I knew when I found “The One”. It was exactly what I wanted and I can not wait until I can share it! When we were getting ready to order, one of mom’s daycare moms came in to see my dress, then Grandma, Mom and I started talking and we walked out without ordering it. But, all is okay. I planned on coming back over spring break and ordering it then. But over the next weekend, I had to go back home. We ended up going to the store and ordering my dress. I know that it may be a bit early, but I wanted to make sure that I got it before it was discontinued. I love my dress and will not be changing my mind!

So as you can see, I had a busy yet productive break! My anxiety level has dropped considerably. I can’t wait for June 2016! My mom and I also got a lot of the little details planned out, but more on that later!



DIY Burlap Tree Skirt

I know that I said that the Snowflake Wreath was one of my favorite crafts, but this one beat them all. This is one of my most favorite projects that I have ever done! Last year at Christmas time, I wanted a tree skirt to cover up the very fake looking bottom of our artificial tree. Due to a college student budget there was no way that I was going to drop $50 or more for a tree skirt. And the cheaper ones looked, well cheap! Luckily, I had a handful of Jo Ann’s coupons and a plan! Did you know that you can use multiple coupons at Jo Ann’s for the same amount within one transaction? As long as they have different bar codes, you are free to do so! Often times, I will use the one from the flyer that they send me, the one from their web site, and the one from the booklet in the store at one time. Again, college student budget… Anyways, my plan was to make one without using a sewing machine because we have a college sized apartment and no room for a sewing machine.There was also no way that I was about to hand stitch it either! I dug out my trusty glue gun and sketched up my plan.

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  • Four yards of burlap
  • Flat bed sheet – Do not go out and buy an old sheet. I bought mine at Goodwill. If I had been at home, I would have used an old sheet from the camper.
  • Glue gun & hot glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Craft or Fabric paint (optional)
  • Pod Podge
  • Pins
  • Ribbon

Step 1: Cut your burlap into strips that are 7 inches wide and 4 yards long. My last two strips were a little bit skinnier, but that worked out perfectly! I used them for my two inner most layers.

Step 2: Next, paint circles (or any shape) onto the strips of burlap using craft paint and sponges. I used a metallic Martha Stewart paint and then a glittery sparkle paint over it once the first coat had dried. This step is completely optional, but as always, it needed a little bit of sparkle. Be sure to lay paper under the burlap as you paint because it will go through the tiny holes in fabric and get on your floor or counter.

Step 3:  Now it is time to tackle the base of the skirt.  Fold the flat bed sheet into a rectangle (In half then in half again). Then from the corner on the folded edge, draw a semi-circle from one folded edge to the other. To do this, I cut a piece of yarn to 25 inches long and tied a pencil to on end. I taped the other end to one corner of my sheet and used it like a compass. This will give you a full circle base of 50 inches when the sheet is unfolded. A standard size tree skirt is 48 inches, so this give you a little wiggle room, which is a good thing when you are essentially making a plan as you go! Cut along the line you just drew. DO NOT UNFOLD YOUR SHEET YET!


Step 4: This next step is important or else you will just have a big circle that you tree awkwardly sits on. In the folded corner that you just had your string taped to, place a cereal bowl to create another semi-circle. Trace around the cereal bowl, then cut it out. This creates the opening for your skirt to go around the tree.

Step 5: You can now unfold your sheet! This will be the base of your tree skirt To finish to finish it up, cut a straight line from the outside edge to the inner circle.


Step 6: It is now time to create ruffles upon ruffles of burlap. This process takes a bit. It’s not necessarily difficult, just time consuming. To make the ruffles, you will start by pinching a small section upward, folding it to one side and then pin it! It’s that easy. Do this every three to for inches along the top of the burlap strip. Make sure that all of your ruffles are folded in the same direction or else the ruffles won’t really ruffle. Repeat on each strip of burlap.



Fold Over

Fold Over



Step 7: Now to start the assembly process. Before you begin, I am going to give you a few tips. 1. Work with one strip at a time. 2. Pin the burlap to the base before you start gluing. 3. Make a handy gluing tool. Since burlap is not a solid fabric, the hot glue oozes through all of those tiny holes. When you are holding down the burlap to the base you will burn your fingers. It only took about 15 minutes of me swearing and scolding myself before Josh made me a tool. He simply took a wood pencil, put some hot glue on the non eraser side and handed it to me. This saved my fingers, a lot.

Now that the tips have been said…  You will start at the bottom of your skirt and work towards the center. The ruffle side should be facing up and at the top of the strip. Line the strip at one side of the slit that you cut into the base earlier and pin it into place. The first strip should hang over the outside edge of the base by about 2 inches. As you place the burlap around the base, pin it to keep it secure. I overlapped each layer over the last by about 2-3 inches to cover the “messy part” of the ruffles. In some tiers, my burlap strips weren’t long enough to fit all the way around the base. But, there is an easy fix! I started a new strip of burlap, overlapping the edge over the end of the previous strip by 2 inches and kept going until it reached the other side. You can’t really even tell that I did this! Ultimately this method worked because the strips got smaller and smaller as I worked up the base, so I didn’t run out of burlap!


Step 8: It’s finally time to glue down all of the strips! Working in a full circle, start gluing the burlap to the base using your hot glue gun. I started at the bottom tier and worked my way up. This is when the little pencil tool is handy. I glued the fold of each ruffle down (after removing the pin!) and then glued that to base. I then added a dot or two of glue in the space between each ruffle, removing the pins as I worked. I did this with each layer.

Step 9: To secure the skirt around the tree, cut eight pieces of ribbon to the same length. Glue them to either side of the opening in the skirt in equal distances. This gives you four ties down the center.


Step 10: Using the same ribbon that you used to make your ties, cut as strip big enough to fit around the inner circle in the opening in your skirt (Where the skirt fits around the tree.) Glue one-half of the ribbon to the top of your skirt then flip it over and glue the other half to the underside of the the skirt.tree skirt inside

Step 11: Using Mod Podge, seal any open edges of burlap on the skirt. This will prevent it from fraying.

Step 12: You are done! Put your skirt around your tree and enjoy it! And probably vacuum up all of the little burlap frays that are now all over your work surface…

tree skirt

I know that this seems like a lengthy process, but I finished it in about a day! I watched a ton of Christmas movies on Netflix and powered through it. And it is totally worth it when the skirt will cost you only $10 (If you use coupons and materials you already have like I did!) rather than $45-$100+ if you bought a ruffled burlap tree skirt!



Chirstmas extravaganza palooza