Adam, Brooke, Chrissy, and Tyler

Welcome to ABC & T. Hope you enjoy catching up on our family events and my scrapbook creations!

Monday, February 17, 2014

What a Winter!

It has been a crazy winter down south.  Two ice storms within three weeks. Now that we are thawing out, we are focused on spring!!

I have been catching up on taking pictures of my layouts to share.  After all, I've had plenty of time, right! Here are a few of my favorite from Fall 2013 until now!

I love these pictures of the Beck boys with Brooke and Ty!

Ty's 4th birthday was snake themed!

Brooke was a witch for Halloween and Ty was a dragon! (I tried the Project Life page here.)

We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving at the Beck's house and a day out at the movies watching Free Bird.

Christmas morning was filled with arts and crafts and a Kindle Fire for Brooke.  For Ty, Transformers and dinosaurs!

I still love our yearly tradition of making cookies with Great Grandma's recipe!

Ty wouldn't talk to Santa, he would only show him the pictures he had circled in the toy magazines.  Sissy helped out!

Ah...the most frustrating Gingerbread Train!

It is also a yearly tradition that the Shelf Elves bring Ty and Brooke Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve.

Ty is playing flag football again with the Beck boys, Asher, and Porter. He got a touchdown in his first game!

 Brooke started karate in August and finished in January.  She got all the way to her orange belt!

 The best part of Winter Break was having the Beck boys stay for a sleepover!  The kids actually slept in until 7:00!!

January was a wash as far as days in school!  Winter Storm Leon was a big ice storm that hit Charleston.  I would have rather seen snow but the kids still had a blast!  We were out of school 4 days!

 This was Brooke's quote, "This is snowtastic!"

This is Ty's page.  He loves using my punches and letter stickers.  He told me what to write and I handed him the letters.

And finally, our favorite season...Michigan football season!!

Now I need to go back to Brooke's 3rd album and start taking pictures to save on my external hard drive.  I've always told Adam that if we ever have to evacuate for a hurricane, all the scrapbooks are going with me.  Well, I have acquired quite a few over the years so I'm not sure if they would all fit!!  To be exact, I would have to take pictures of over 50 scrapbooks containing at least 20 pages.  Not to mention the 15+ I have from before the kids were born.  UGH!  Maybe I'll just hire someone!   Anyone interested??

Have a great week,

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Year

So it's been awhile since my last post and quite a bit has happened since then!  Brooke started second grade and Tyler is another year older.  We have celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year!  Christmas for Brooke consisted of endless art supplies and for Ty is was endless gifts of Transformers.


 Brooke and her second grade teacher Mrs. Goodwin!

I have also been taking pictures for family and friends.  It's been a fun adventure and I have learned quite a bit about photography!  I snuck this picture in on my last session!

The most exciting news is the launch of my friend, Vicki Baker, and my arts integration blog:  Teaching Common Core standards through the arts has been the most exciting change in my career as a teacher.  It has become a creative outlet for me and made teaching even more exciting.  I hope you have time to check out our new blog. 

Happy New Year!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summer Adventures 2013!

What a wonderful summer!  We have had the most wonderful time together making lasting memories.  Our first family trip was to Michigan to visit my mom/ Grammy Marsha.  We spent 2 weeks at her house and one week with her at our favorite vacation spot: Pentwater.  Pentwater is located on Lake Michigan and we always spend the 4th of July there celebrating all of the festivities.  Mom and I continued our scrapping ventures!  We completed many layouts even though it wasn't over 100 degrees this year!!  Ty and Brooke discovered many new creatures at Grammy's house.  Ty even grabbed a snake by the tail but it slithered away from him!  That was his highlight.  They also collected tiny frogs, snails, butterflies, dragonflies, spiders, beetles, lightning bugs, etc.  We even saved a turtle from the road.  The kids named him Frankie!  It was such a peaceful, relaxing three weeks.  We left my mom's house and traveled to Ohio to stay with my dad and step-mother for a few days.  They kids had a great time searching their frog pond for frogs and eating ice cream at the Mill.  We left for home for one night and left for North Carolina the next day.  We finished our family trips by spending 4 days in Oak Island with the Rose family!

Here are some layouts of our adventures:

This is actually a layout from Brooke's last day of school.  It's hard to believe she will be in 2nd grade!
 The weekend before we left for Michigan was Father's Day.  We spent a whole afternoon downtown in Charleston and had dinner at a fabulous restaurant!

Ty and his camouflage!  He loves to pretend he suddenly disappears when he wears it!

The kids were SO excited to see Grammy.  
 She has some REALLY tall grass this year and the kids loved exploring through the tall blades.  Well, Brooke wasn't too sure about it.  Ty and I may, or may not, have gotten a little crazy on the mower and blasted our way through it one day!!  That is until we discovered a baby bunny nest!
My mom has been waiting for Brooke to get big enough to dress her up in some of her antique dresses.  Brooke didn't mind at all!
 We always try to make time to visit Binder Park Zoo to feed the giraffes.  The kids really enjoyed placing lettuce on their long, sticky tongues!
 Of course Ty needed a new Michigan hat.  Can you tell he liked it?
 Max is the kids favorite dog that Grammy owns.  Ty tried to kidnap him when we left.
 We decided to buy a bike rack and take our bikes to Michigan this year.  They have a wonderful walking/biking trail in Portage called the Celery Flats.  It was a beautiful day for a bike ride and we were able to see a baby deer, ride through bridges and tunnels, and catch little frogs!  In fact, Ty crashed his bike to the ground, hard, to catch a little frog!
 Here is the turtle we saved from the road.  I love how Ty looks like he's going to take a bite out of him and Brooke is staring at him eye-to-eye!  Mom thought he was a snapper, which he wasn't, so we had fun teasing her!
 The kids found all kinds of tiny frogs at Grammy's house.  They built them a habitat each day complete with water, rocks, flies, and grass.  One day they caught 25 frogs!
 I took the kids to the lake while we were in Michigan.  Brooke was beside herself with fear because she couldn't see the bottom like she can in the ocean and Lake Michigan.  She thought the jelly fish and crabs would get her.  We had a long lesson on fresh water lakes vs. salt water!
 And now begins our awesome week in Pentwater!  Unfortunately the water was freezing, 56 degrees!  We could run in long enough to get numb, 1 minute, and run out before our legs froze off!!
 We had our share of ice cream.  I think Ty stole Grammy's each time.  He'd convince her and say,"Oh Grammy.  My ice cream is really good!"  Then, he'd give her the eye and they would trade!
 It's a yearly tradition to walk up and run down the old sand dune name Old Baldy. 
 In Pentwater, they celebrate the 4th of July on the 3rd!  It was a cold, rainy morning but it cleared up quickly and the sun came out!  Brooke created a flag sand castle for the occasion. 
 So, my favorite holiday to dress the kids for and celebrate is the 4th.  These two were cracking me up this year with their accessories!  I love the glasses!
 I just love these two to pieces!
 We decided the kids were old enough to try out some sparklers!  They were a bit nervous at first but my cousin, Andrew, reassured them everything would be alright! favorite...the pie eating contest.  Brooke is so dainty when she digs in, eating tiny pieces, while Ty shoves his whole face in!! 
 We almost missed the fireworks because the thick fog rolled in.  In fact, the firefighters were convinced they would cancel.  By some miracle, at 9:45 the clouds parted and the show went off without a hitch!  You can see how foggy it is in the picture of Ty running.  You can't even see the lighthouse behind him!
Adam has missed our last two trips home so it was SO nice to have him with us this year!   The kids had a great time burying him in the sand!
 We went to the concert in the park which is held every Thursday night.  This was Brooke's favorite place to go with Papa Don.  He always showed her the drums and tubas!  So, she has since called it going to see the drums and tubas!  I know Don was smiling down on her watching her dance.  Actually, Ty was the first child to get up and dance in front of EVERYONE!  We were shocked and couldn't stop laughing!
 On our last day in Pentwater, Adam and I took the kids to A.J.'s Fun Park for golfing and go carts.  This was Ty's first year riding along side of me in the go cart and he thought it was the coolest thing EVER!  Brooke look terrified riding with Adam.  We had a deal that whoever won the golf was able to get ice cream.  Of course, Ty and Brooke tied for first place!

I also had the chance to see Alyssa.  She was my student when I got my first teaching job and the flower girl in Adam and my wedding.  I have definitely aged!! 
 We also visited my best friend from high school, Staci.  Her family is absolutely adorable and I love catching up with her!
 And here is my serenity.  The sunset over Lake Michigan in Pentwater!  The kids still talk about all the fun they had in Michigan and are talking about their plans for next summer!

Now back to reality!  School starts for teachers a week from tomorrow.  It's always hard for me to leave my children after I spend every waking hour with them.  I will be sure to spoil them rotten this week and get lots of extra hugs and kisses....especially before Papa steals them all back!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lonely Firefly Chalk Pastels

Welcome to another week of my e-course art class!  I continue to learn so much from Patty at Deep Space Sparkle.  I have so many ideas spinning through my head...I know, what's new!!  This week one of the techniques we learned was how to incorporate chalk pastels into arts integration.  I didn't realize all of the cool things you could do with chalk!  I actually used it in my room last year.  The kid's favorite activity was the Klee Cats from Patty at Deep Space Sparkle.  You can purchase the PDF at  The other activity I used chalks for was our Eric Carle author's study unit.  Each week we read a different story by Eric Carle and discussed the main character of each and character traits.  Then, we recreated the main character using several different art mediums:  wall paper, fabric samples, construction paper, oil pastels, watercolors, and CHALK!  The vibrant color of chalk on black paper is beautiful.  So, I stuck with that idea for this week's homework assignment but added more detail per what Patty taught me!  Of course Brooke wanted to join along so I have her finished firefly as well!

Eric Carle Inspired Fireflies- Using Chalk Pastels
First Grade 
 Objectives:  TSW recall the main character of the story.
TSW recall character traits.
TSW infer the character's likes and dislikes.
TSW use chalk pastels and oil pastels/glue.
TSW blend chalk pastels.
The Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle   
Oil Pastels/ Liquid Glue
Chalk Pastels
Black Paper (any size you prefer)

**To Begin the lesson I would read The Lonely Firefly.  We would discuss the main character in the story and the character traits.  I would have the students talk about the character's likes and dislikes.  Then, I would have the children focus on Eric Carle's illustrations.  We would notice all of the different brush strokes he uses when he paints his tissue paper and all of the different colors he incorporates.  I would tell the children that we are going to re-create the Lonely Firefly by using chalk pastels.  Then, I would begin my art lesson.

Step 1:  Have the children draw the Lonely Firefly with a black oil pastel.  I would teach this to them step-by-step. First, I would have them draw a circle on the top right side of the paper.  Then, draw two circles for the eyes and one circle for the nose.  Next, draw a long rectangular body.  Add a triangle to the bottom of his body to created his "Lighting Tail!"  Next, add to heart shaped wings to both sides of his body.  Add two antennae and six legs (optional).  The children will need to draw the antennae wide, not skinny, so that they can fill them with chalk.  You could do the same with the six legs or just leave them as a straight line.

Step 2: Remind students that at the end of the story the Firefly saw fireworks.  Demonstrate how to draw a firework.  Then, have the children add fireworks to their background with colored oil pastels.

Step 3:  Have the children choose a blue chalk pastel to color in the background.  Demonstrate how to use the "side" of the chalk pastel instead of the "tip."  In my sample I did not blend the background as I wasn't sure how it would look with the fireworks.  You could have the children blend the background now or wait until the end.

Step 4:  Have the children choose different colored chalk pastels to color in the firefly.  I recommend having them color the "Lighting Tail" yellow but the other colors are their choice.  Then,  have the children blend in the chalk, inside the firefly, with his/her finger being careful not to go outside of the black lines.  I would provide them with baby wipes as they move from color to color.

Step 5: Have the children draw more firework lines besides their oil pastel fireworks.  This will give the fireworks more pizazz!! 

Step 7: (Optional)  Have the children blend in the blue background with their finger being careful not to smear the fireworks.

Step 8: (Optional)  Have the children blend the fireworks with his/her finger.

I also created the same project using the glue outline technique.  It turned out pretty cool!  Brooke joined in on this project as well so I posted her picture.



Here is another creation by Brooke.  She created the sunset with chalk and then added glue to make waves and circle the sun!!

Then, Tyler spent an evening watching Patty's videos with me.  He was very intrigued by the video of the ships.  He jumped off my lap, grabbed paper and his markers, and drew exactly what he had seen...a boat with sails, clouds, waves, and a horizon line.  I was BLOWN away!! Art is amazing : )

Well, I hope you enjoyed my second homework project!  We are leaving for Michigan so I won't be as prompt for my next homework assignment!