Friday, August 4, 2017

Curated Back to School Ideas

It's that time of year!  It doesn't matter how many years you've been teaching, most educators are always looking for fresh ways to start the new year.  

Here are a few ideas I've been loving on Pinterest lately (click the photos to go to the pin).

You can peruse my whole Beginning of the Year Board here:

But here are my favorite top few:

I love these throw backs from Secondary English Coffee Shop!  They'd make a great 'time capsule' and review at the end of the school year.  It's a free printable too!

I love the snowball fight activity and this one is from Rachel Lynette.

This beautiful art project/social skills project from Mrs. Thomas' Treasures would be great in the first week or two! 

Working on growth mindset?  This book is fabulous and Kirsten's Caboodle has activities to go with it.

What about getting year-long project ready? Like emergency sub plans, a collection of art and poetry for the year, or or back to school ideas that connect to end of the year ideas?

I love this style of welcome letter from Mrs. Southard!

And last but not least, I really like this reminder activity of how to be a good classmate from More Thank a Worksheet.

I'd love to know what you're doing for Back to School. If you have a blog post or video with your special activities, classroom tours, or back to school organizing, leave a link in the comments below!


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

And the Winner Is...

Yesterday I offered a free $10 gift card from Teachers Pay Teachers!  I placed all the entries from the comments below, Instagram, and also my Facebook page and assigned each a number.  

Then I put them all in the random number generator online and I got 5.

Who was number 5? Denise Talbott with her Facebook entry!

Thanks for entering Denise!  E-mail me within 48 hours at and I'll respond with your gift card code.  

For everyone else, there is still a sale going on - 25% off my whole store!  

Monday, July 31, 2017

It's a Back to School Sale and Giveaway!

Are you #BTSReadyWithTpT ?  If you aren't ready today, you will be tomorrow!  August 1st and 2nd I'm throwing a sale in my TPT store!  You can get 25% off!

And you can win a Back To School $10 gift card to help you move those items from your wishlist to your cart!

What would you spend your $10 on?  

Perhaps a year long product such as Poetry and Art Through the Year:

Or the Multiplication Bundle:

Or maybe you want to be prepared for that day you're sick this year and actually take it off.  Then Emergency Sub Plans are for you!  I have two different packs of these, both science and literacy based.

Whatever you choose, you'll be off to a great start!

So how do you enter the giveaway?

There are three ways!  You can enter here on my blog, one my Facebook page, and on my Instagram page.  Comment with your favorite product from my TPT store.  You can enter the same favorite product on all three platforms and get 3 entries!  For every two people you tag on Facebook and Instagram you'll get another entry!  

I will assign all entries a number and put them through a random generator to post tomorrow - Tuesday August 1st at noon Pacific time. 

All entries must be made before 10 am Pacific time, Tuesday August 1st.  Any late entries will not be counted.  I will notify the winner on all three platforms at noon Pacific time and you'll need to e-mail me at so I can respond with your gift card code.  

If the winner does not respond within 48 hours I will pick another winner.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Plans?

This is a 'just thinking while my fingers are on the keyboard' type post.  No product, no fun pictures, no how-to...just journaling really.  
I feel like everyone has already gotten out of school except us.  We still have a whole week to go!  But that does not stop me from making summer plans.

I sat down yesterday and corralled all my notes and lists about stuff I want to do this summer or needed to put off until summer because life is too busy at the end of the school year to do everything.  I bet you know how that feels.

Have you ever made your summer list and decided it was too long?  That's what happened to me yesterday.  At first, I thought I could get it all in.  I made weekly plan sheets and assigned everything a spot so I could make sure it all got done.  It technically could, if I don't want to enjoy summer break at all.  Sigh.  Now I'm looking my list and deciding what needs to go.  

What I ended up deciding was that maybe I would just prioritize and do the most important things first,  then when those things got done the rest could fill in the remainder of the summer.  The problem is that some of those things can't be done until after certain dates.  For example, there are a few things I want to do that I can't do until after the Teachers Pay Teachers conference in July. There are some household things I can't do until after we make an out of town trip to my husband's class reunion.  

Still, I haven't lost hope.  And (until a few weeks into summer at least) I haven't lost focus.  

I now have a list of most important tasks.  They MUST be done before the end of summer.  I tried to include the most important one or two items from each of my areas of life.  They aren't in order of importance but they are the most important 10 items.  That way, I can be flexible in how I get them done.  Every day I can look at it and ask myself - "Can I do something on this list today?" and if so, do it.  If I can't because I'm waiting for a certain time, all hope is not lost, because I WILL eventually be able to say yes to that item.  

So here's what's on my Must Do list this summer (Top Ten):

1-   Get my TPT newsletter e-mail list up and running!  That's right, I will finally have monthly tips and anecdotes for you!  Look for that in late July or early August.

2-  Change out my old product covers.  Please don't go back and sort my products by most recent and scroll down to my oldest.  I really didn't know what I was doing then as far as cover design goes.  Seriously.  Don't. 

3-  Take my kids to the library weekly and have 'reading parties' at home after each visit.  We usually go to the library a lot in the summer, but this year I'm adding the reading party to make it more fun and have calm afternoons.  A reading party is really just sitting around with free range snacks and all reading our own books on blankets, etc...

4-  Finish and publish my cookbook.  I've mentioned it in passing before.  I'm publishing a cookbook!  It's been a long time coming.  The end is near.  Thank goodness.

5-  Preserve all my garden produce so nothing gets wasted.  Seriously.  Share, can, dry, freeze, it needs to be a priority.  I'm great at getting to my tomatoes every year but not necessarily everything else.

6-  Take the kids to grandma's pool more often.  I'm not putting a number of visits on this one.  More often will be better than the 'next to none' last year.  I am hoping to get it done once a week though.

7-  Clean out the garage.  I semi did this in January so I'm hoping this will be a quick 1-2 day job. 

8-  Deep clean the girl's room.  I'll be packing up their room again like I did last summer - just to get rid of stuff.  But they will be cleaning it top to bottom.

9-  Redecorate my son's room.  He's promoting from 6th grade to middle  school next week and he still has the Where the Wild Things Are motif I painted everywhere when he was a baby.  It's way past time to update his room. 

10- Have a good trip with the family.  We're heading to Northern California for my husband's 20 year class reunion.  It's just a 4 day trip, but I am hoping to be present, not doing any business, and enjoying nature with them.  That sounds easy, but we leave the day after the Teachers Pay Teachers conference ends.  I know I will have a ton of stuff going through my head that I will be motivated to work on and think about.  It will be a struggle for me to fight that natural motivation instead of work with it.  

So those are my top ten.  There are tons of other things I'm not ignoring.  I hope to continue my kids cooking lessons, do a small scrapbook retreat, get my kids science fair project done ahead of time like we did last summer (which rocked when schools started), teach my girls to sew, and much much more.  But if I get these top 10 things done I will count summer as a success.  Wish me luck!

I actually counted everything on my list and there were 127 things.  I'm not even sure how to react to that. 

What's on your 'must do' list this summer?  I'd love to know! 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Lunch - A Late Post

If you didn't know, I am no longer in the classroom.  I write for TPT, I sub at my kids' school, I occasionally do intervention or trainings, but mostly I am almost at my kids' school as a volunteer and part of the PTA there.  As a result of missing teaching and being in PTA, I almost always volunteer for the jobs that encourage and thank the teachers. That's really where my heart it right now.  This was my first time taking over the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. 

I had fun.  The teachers had lots of positive comments.  And, most importantly, they seemed to look relaxed and happy leaving the lounge after lunch that day while sipping drinks from colorful cups with palm tree straws.  ;)

So here's what I went with.  It was a Lorax Luau theme.  It combined a tropical theme with Dr. Seuss.  Don't ask me why, it's a long story. 

I started before teacher appreciation week with these invitations.  (We had just paid for a new playground'll see why that's pertinent when you read the invitation poem I wrote).  Forgive the sad picture from my phone in poor lighting.  I only remembered to take the pic as I was sticking them in teacher boxes,

We catered it from Ono Hawaiian BBQ, who provided some delicious aloha chicken, green salad, rice, and crab Rangoon.  I also make a tropical fruit salad, Hawaiian rolls and pineapple cupcakes with coconut buttercream frosting to go along with it.  We had tropical iced tea and Hawaiian punch to wash it all down.  Hawaiian music played softly in the background.  All I forgot was to scent the air with something tropical.

Little Lorax faces peeked out from several places all over the lounge, including the menu at the door:

And speaking of the door, we had to set the stage right away, so this is what welcomed them on the outside, and we greeted them with leis and "aloha"s on the inside.

Here's a closer look at what the blurb said:

I didn't do a very good job at capturing the truffula trees I made and put in clusters all over the lounge; but, you can see one group of them by the supply room door and you can see the tropical decorations in this shot.

At the end I donated the truffula trees and some Lorax pots (you'll see them soon) to some primary teachers who do a lot on Read Across America Day.

At the food table we had silverware wrapped and placed in the Lorax pots:

And another Lorax pot was by the door with truffula pens to give teachers as they left.  There was a message with the pens about how in the story of The Lorax the truffula trees were an invaluable resource that made the forest and all its inhabitants thrive, and that they (the teachers) were like the truffula trees, an invaluable resource, key to making our children thrive. 

And that was it!  I hope they felt loved on and appreciated!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Summer Bridge Practice for Fourth Graders Going to Fifth Grade

Stop the summer slide and bridge the gap between fourth and fifth grade with this summer practice pack!  Math, reading, writing, grammar, research, science, social's all here!  There's also a parent letter explaining the packet and the importance of keeping the brain active over summer, a reading log, suggested reading list, and much more!


This is one of those projects I've been working on for a while.  It seemed to go on and on and on.  I'm finally finished and it's available to you in my TPT store!

Every subject is covered and it is all stuff a fourth grader should be able to do independently (other than a parent possibly driving them to a library) and uses items from around the house.  

Just copy and send it home!

Get yours now!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now

We still have 7 weeks of school before we get out.  I'm soooooo ready.  In an effort to focus on the positive, I'm thinking about things I love right now. 

1- This book.  I might have to make another post just about this one soon.  It has a bit of humor and a bit of a message about over-scheduled kids.

Image result for cora and the crocodile

2- Zillow - I know, weird.  But I'm a serious planner.  I plan waaaay ahead.  My husband and I are planning to relocate in 2-4 years and I love surfing houses in the areas that we're looking.  I especially love that I can easily satellite view the map and see what's nearby and what the whole property looks like. 

3- Homemade nut milks.  I have discovered that dairy is the main cause of both my seasonal allergies and my adult acne.  In an attempt to cut most of it out, I have been making nut milks.  They are fast to make and don't have the added ingredients that store bought nut milks have.  My favorite is macadamia.  (This one isn't my picture - it's from

Image result for macadamia milk

4-  The warmer weather.  This is a catch 22.  I was ready for warmer weather, but it kind of skipped over warm and went straight to hot here.  It's in the 90's this week!  

Image result for sun

5-  Being in the garden- The garden is planted and beginning to grow!  I can't wait to add more berry vines, but thus far all the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini are in the ground and getting bigger!  We even have a few baby grapes on our young grape vine.  (Pay no attention to the weeds ;) )

What are you loving right now?  Take a minute to remind yourself of the good things in life and share them in the comments!