Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Sale and Flash Freebie

Time to ring in the New Year with a sale!!!

Thank you Hope King for the graphic!  

The sale will start as soon as I post this.  If you're wondering what you might NEED to grab at this sale, here is some inspiration:

New Year's activity (HUGE deal on sale!)











Pour Some Sugar on Me is perfect for Kindergarten for Valentine's Day.  If you're looking for First Grade Valentine's Day Centers, this next one is for you...


 So all of this and MORE will be 20% off until midnight on January 1st (New Year's Day).  Just click HERE to go to my store and check it all out!  

One last thing --- that FLASH FREEBIE I was mentioning.  One of the items shown above will be FREE for 20 minutes and 14 seconds in honor of the New Year.  This will happen sometime New Year's Eve night before midnight.  The exact time will be announced on Instagram and on my Facebook page (if you aren't following either one of those - head on over so you don't miss it).  I'll give you a hint - I'll be thinking in military time.  

Ok there is ONE more thing (last one - I promise)!  I really want to kick off your year with a present so if you don't think you'll be up late tonight, then you can enter right now with 

Pin It to Win It

Just pin one (or more) of the above products (or any product from my store).  Leave the pin URL, your email, and one New Year's wish or goal you have.  I will have each of my daughters pick a winner sometime on New Years Day.  

Have a great New Year's Eve and an even better New YEAR!!!  
Thank you for visiting and hopefully commenting to win =)

If you are looking for more blogs to follow in this upcoming year, check out this linky at Simply Kinder

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Some say that resolutions are made to be broken.  I look at them as a way to take some time to assess where you are in life, where you want to be, reevaluate your priorities, and appreciate all that you have.    I am not a person who makes resolutions and gets mad or depressed when they don't work out.  I try to stick with attainable goals or at least goals that will make me a better person in the long run.  

For this post, I'm linking up with First Grade Nest to share these New Year's Resolutions.  Hop on over to Jessica's adorable blog and check out some other favorite bloggers' resolutions.  You might find one that inspires you.

Without further ado, here are my resolutions (more details below):

Drink more water
This is pretty self-explanatory.  I never drink enough water.  I want to live a healthier lifestyle in general and drinking more water is one small part of that.  I've read that drinking a glass of water right when you wake up in the morning is great to jumpstart your body for the day.  I also plan to drink a glass of water before eating - both meals and when I feel like snacking.  Although I do plan on eating healthier, I do not plan on following any sort of diet.  Some small things I plan to do to help with this are: buy fresh fruits and veggies 2 times a week so they are really fresh, eat more homemade soup and salad for meals (I've been pinning recipes like a crazy woman lately to help with this one),  pre-package healthy snacks for grab-and-go, and of course drink more water!

 I know, I know!  This is EVERYONE'S new year's resolution.  But I'm just keeping it simple.  I'm not saying how often.  I'm not setting any specific goals just yet.  I just want to find more time to exercise.  I want my treadmill to feel less lonely.  I want to listen to my workout mix on my iPod.  I want an excuse to buy some cute workout clothes.  I will exercise!  I don't know how much or how often - but it will happen.  To help me with this resolution I've downloaded the My Fitness Pal app.  I've started following some people on Instagram for inspiration.  I will, of course, start finding some pinspiration as well.   

Organize my life
 This one sounds little over the top, but I just want to find more ways to be organized in every aspect of my life.  Unfortunately I can't really spend the money to buy all the super cute containers, boxes, bins, shelves, etc. that I really want - so I have to get creative.  Again, I'm relying on Pinterest for help.  I started a new board, Organize This.  Pinterest is filled with organizational tips, so I'm looking to put some of them in action.  This past year I created some binders for our home: one for all our bills and one for all of our important papers like birth certificates, marriage license, etc.  This has helped tremendously.  For next year, I want to find a way to organize incoming papers (mail, school papers) that works for me.  There are so many ideas out there, but I will need to find something that works with our daily living.  I also want to organize better when it comes to grocery shopping: lists, coupons, menu planning.  

Blog once a week
 This will be a tough one for me, especially since I am finding less people are checking my blog and more people are finding me on my Facebook page.  It seems as though people are not commenting on blog posts as much as before, myself included.  So therefore, I will also add to this resolution to comment myself at least once a week on another blog.  I want and need to spread the love a little too!  

Appreciate more
This is a good reminder for all of us.  Each one of us has so many things to be thankful for.  When I'm stressed it is so easy to get short with the people I love.  I want to spend more time telling them all the things I appreciate about them.  I want to take a step back from whatever is stressing me and recognize the positives and not dwell on the negatives.  Do I need to point out to my husband when he leaves the milk on the counter, or could I just put it away and not say anything?  Should I sigh when my daughter wants just one more book at bedtime because I have school work to do, or could I think about how wonderful it is that she wants more time with me?  This past year has been difficult in many ways and reminds me how precious our time is with the ones we love.  I want to know that I didn't take that time for granted and I tried to show them that I appreciate them.  

Happy New Year everyone!  
I'm honored that you took the time to read my little blog.  
I appreciate you all!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We Remember

Good evening friends (or morning or whatever time it is when you are visiting me)!  This post will be random (because of course that is what you have come to expect from me).  But this time my random will have a much deeper meaning than just my everyday random.    

I want you all to think back a year ago (a year ago December 14th to be exact).  That date might not jump out at you, or maybe it does, but that is the date of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Feel free to take a break from reading to really stop and think about that day.  I know I have to quite often whenever it comes to mind.  If you are a teacher and/or a parent - the thought of that day might even bring you to tears with just a mention of it.  I have a hard time reading anything about it without the tears streaming down my face.  

For me, December 14, 2012 started out like any other normal day in 1st grade.  We were all in the holiday spirit and enjoying some fun activities, crafts, Christmas read alouds - it's such a wonderful time of year.  I remember dropping my kids off at lunch and walking into the teacher's room where the news had been announced and the TV was on.   The one scene that plays over and over in my head is of the class of students being led out of the building holding hands and walking in a line.  I looked at their faces and the faces of the teachers.  I just could not imagine how someone could go into an elementary school (or any school of course) and start mindlessly attacking these children --- first graders.  I listened to the times and realized that it was a mere 10 minutes from beginning to end.  Such a short time and yet so much devastation.  

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur.  I remember envisioning what I would do if that happened in our school, on that day.  I remember hoping that I would be brave enough to shield my students like many of those teachers did.  I know I would.  They are my children and I am there to teach them but to also protect them.  I remember thinking about my daughter in preschool.  Would her teacher do the same for her?  Was it wrong of me to expect her to give her life for my daughter?  I don't know, but I can't imagine it any other way.  I remember saying goodbye to my little first graders at the end of the day and giving them extra big hugs with a forced smile on my face because they had no idea what had happened earlier that day and they were just their happy little selves.  

Of course, as teachers, we try each and everyday to make our classroom a place where our students feel safe, happy, and loved.  The next day of school (after the weekend), when my students entered the classroom, I felt different.   I felt that my job, as important as it had always been, was now much more important.  Although I always knew that teaching was so much more than just the lessons I plan for my students, now I felt it more deeply than ever.  It changed me.  But it also left me longing for a way to help.  There really wasn't anything I could do but to continue to make my classroom that safe haven for my students.  Every new day I would pay attention to each smile.  I would make sure they felt like part of a family so they would never doubt that they were loved.  I would find new ways to inspire them and bring out their talents and creativity.  I would do more than teach!  I will try to make my little inch of the world the best I can and maybe it will spread out from there.  

Now I have to ask something of those who read this . . .

The people of Newtown, CT, have asked people to commit random acts of kindness on December 14th to honor the teachers and students of Sandy Hook Elementary.  What better way to remember the angels that are now watching over us all.  Help me (and hundreds of others) spread Random Acts of Kindness on this 1 year anniversary.  Greg Smedley of Smedley's Smorgasbord of Kindergarten helped organize teachers and bloggers to spread the word.  Krista Walden created this adorable graphic to help promote this movement.  

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

As for me, I found a small way to help a local family who just recently faced a tragedy.  This family of 5 was hit head on by a man who was under the influence of illicit drugs.  The mother was killed.  One of the daughters is paralyzed from the waist down.  The others have been in and out of the hospital since the accident with surgeries and complications.  This family is in need of financial support for their medical and funeral bills.  If this is something you would like to help with, click here to read more about this family and donate if possible.  I felt very strongly after reading their story that this was one way I could help a family who is going through so much and has so much more to face.  I still plan on finding some other ways I can spread kindness because I know I can do even more.

I would really love to hear about any ways in which you plan to commit Random Acts of Kindness in honor of Sandy Hook.  Remember, it does not need to cost any money.  Leave me a message.  It might inspire someone else to join in.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Can you say random? (and Freebies)

Oh, I wonder if there is anyone even out there reading this little blog anymore.  I wouldn't blame you if you weren't, since I have been so bad about keeping up with it.  I will say I've been a little better at giving updates about my classroom using Instagram.  So if you use Instagram and like to see little bits and pieces here or there, I'd love if you'd follow me on that journey.   

I am also hoping to find a little more time to spend on Facebook so you can check me out there as well.  Speaking of Facebook, I just finished my first Facebook Freebie Hop with a bunch of other amazing first grade teachers and it was awesome!  I have to say I was truly amazed and honored at the response that we got from the freebie hop.  It's one of the reasons that I want to spend more time on my Facebook page because it seems like an easy way to check in each day.  

What's that?  You missed it?  

Well . . . because of the overwhelming response - I've decided to put my freebie on here as a thank you to anyone who is still stopping by to see what's going on in my world or even to those of you who have just stopped by for a visit.  I hope you are able to find a use for it.  I will link it up at the bottom of this post.  This freebie will only be free for a little while and then it will be for sale in my TpT store.  Get it while you can.  

Just a quick recap about Thanksgiving because I updated my Turkeys on Strike activity from last year.  First we read The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey.  Suuuuuper cute book!  Then we worked on these Turkeys on Strike.  The kids had to use a little persuasion to get people to choose something else to eat on Thanksgiving instead of turkeys.  We had so much fun with these little guys!

Click on the picture to get the sign and writing papers if you can use them next year. 

Moving right along to Christmas, because don't you feel like the absolute second that Thanksgiving was over this year it was time for Christmas.  Actually, it almost seemed like Thanksgiving was an afterthought, which is too bad because it really is a great holiday focused on family and not just presents.  

So, right after Thanksgiving we started our Gingerbread week.  Check out this post from last year to get some ideas.  Here is a quick little craft we did using the book, The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup. Another adorable book!  

This really isn't anything big, but the kids were SOOOO excited to make a Gingerbread pirate.  I am thinking I need to tap into this topic of motivation and make a little pirate unit this year.  Add it to the to-do list!  

In case you're looking for a quick and easy craft, here's what we did.  We used those foam cut-outs (I think from JoAnn's or Michael's), glitter glue (which I got on sale on Black Friday), and sharpies.  They could choose to make a hat or sword out of construction paper if they wanted, and most of them wanted to.  Then I had them write a quick little blurb about the book as a reading response (not pictured).  

This upcoming week we are doing Reindeer and Elves.  Here is some Pinspiration I will be using to make this a fun-filled week. 

 Don't you just love those cookies?  I don't think I will be able to pull off the ornament/decoration this year but they are really adorable.  We will, however, be studying reindeer using my Reindeer Unit and going to Elf school using my Elf Elementary pack.  Definitely check out Instagram to see some how these fun ideas turn out.  Learning about reindeer is always a class favorite (right after pirates I guess).   

And finally, here is the freebie that I mentioned earlier in this post.  This includes a fact family math center and craftivity.  I hope you like it!  

***This freebie has expired and is now for sale***

Sorry for my randomness lately, but don't say I didn't warn you with the title of this post.  

I'd love to hear from you and what you are doing as we get closer to Christmas -- Gingerbread, Reindeer, Elves, crafts, etc.  Got any Pinterest ideas to share.  I just love Pinterest =) 

Thanks so much for stopping by!